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by C.H. Weaver M.D. (3/1/2018)

The combination of LynparzaTM (olaparib), and paclitaxel improves overall survival relative to paclitaxel alone in patients with metastatic gastric cancer and low or undetectable levels of a DNA damage response gene known as ATM.

Gastric cancer refers to cancer of the stomach. The American Cancer Society estimates that 24,590 Americans will be diagnosed with gastric cancer and an estimated 10,720 Americans are expected to die from the disease annually. The relative five-year survival rate for all stages combined is approximately 28%. Though gastric cancer has a relatively low incidence in the United States, it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The incidence of gastric cancer is quite high in Asian countries such as Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan. Treatment of gastric cancer typically involves surgical removal of the cancer followed by the use of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.

Lynparza is a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor that blocks enzymes involved in repairing damaged DNA. Lynparza was initially approved for treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes in 2014.

In the current study reported patients were enrolled at 13 sites in Korea from February 2010 to May 2012. Approximately 90% of patients had previously been treated with platinum plus fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy.

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In all, 124 patients were treated with either oral Lynparza plus paclitaxel or placebo plus paclitaxel followed by maintenance monotherapy with Lynparza or placebo.

The combination of Lynparza/paclitaxel was generally well tolerated, with no unexpected side effects. The researchers reported significantly improved survival for the combination compared to placebo/paclitaxel in the overall study population. The combination also significantly improved survival versus placebo in patients with low ATM expression.

Reference: Yung-Jue Bang, MD, PhD et al. online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.