"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Promising results of targeted drug in advanced prostate cancer

It is well-known that faulty BRCA genes can increase a girl's probabilities of developing breast, ovarian and other cancers. But these same gene changes may also increase a person's risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Now, a brand new one the study Published in New England Journal of Medicine have shown that men with prostate cancer who test positive for BRCA mutations can profit from an ovarian cancer drug designed for BRCA-positive women. Based on this finding, the US Food and Drug Administration is accelerating the review of a drug called olaparib as a possible recent treatment for prostate cancer.

During the study, 50 men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer took olaparib tablets twice a day. Sixteen of them responded: their prostate-specific antigen levels dropped by not less than 50 percent, the variety of tumor cells of their blood dropped sharply, and plenty of had tumors shrink by a 3rd or more. Shrunk greater than that. Additionally, olaparib improved pain control and quality of life, with responses lasting greater than a yr in some men. “What was impressive was not only the magnitude of the response, but also its duration,” said lead creator of the study Dr. Joaquin Matteo, an oncologist on the London-based Institute of Cancer Research.

How does olaparib achieve its remarkable results?

Olaparib kills BRCA-positive cancer cells by interfering with a DNA repair protein called PARP. And when cancer cells treated with olaparib can't repair the damage that naturally accumulates of their DNA, they die.

Analyzing biopsy samples from the lads within the study, Matteo and his co-authors found that responders were limited to men who tested positive for defects in BRCA and a couple of other related genes. Moreover, in some responders the defects weren’t inherited, but arose spontaneously of their cancer cells. This is a vital finding, Mateo said, because PARP inhibitors reminiscent of olaparib have to this point only been investigated in patients with inherited BRCA mutations. “Our trial shows that many patients may benefit from this drug, including those who develop DNA repair defects later in life,” he said.