Breast cancer drug may offer a precision treatment for aggressive prostate cancer tumors

olaparib
Image: BBC

A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancers tied to certain genetic mutations may help combat some of the most severe cases of prostate cancer.

Researchers tested the drug, called olaparib, in a randomized clinical trial of nearly 400 men with advanced prostate cancer and a mutation in one of several genes involved in repairing damaged DNA, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genetic defects raise the risk of certain cancers, including breast and ovarian (SN: 4/7/15). Up to 30 percent of men with the hardest-to-treat prostate cancers also have mutations in this type of gene.

Overall in men given olaparib, the disease progressed more slowly compared with those on standard treatment drugs that deprive cancer cells of the male hormone testosterone. After a year, about 22 percent of men taking olaparib had no signs that their cancer was progressing, compared with 13.5 percent of men on the standard treatments, the researchers reported September 30 in Barcelona at the European Society of Medical Oncology meeting.

Related article:  Why Nobel laureate David Baltimore doesn't support moratorium on CRISPR babies

But while the new treatment looks promising so far, potentially buying some patients a few more months, it’s too early to say how the drug will impact overall survival.

Read full, original post: A precision drug for prostate cancer may slow the disease’s spread

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