FDA approves first treatment for breast cancer with a certain inherited genetic mutation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Lynparza (olaparib tablets) to include the treatment of patients with certain types of breast cancer that have spread (metastasized) and whose tumors have a specific inherited (germline) genetic mutation, making it the first drug in its class (PARP inhibitor) approved to treat breast cancer, and it is the first time any drug has been approved to treat certain patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a “BRCA” gene mutation. To find out if you or your patients carry the BRCA gene mutation and if they are eligible for Lynparza or other personalized treatment options contact MyOncoPath’s genetic counselors. Patients are selected for treatment with Lynparza based on an FDA-approved genetic test, called the BRACAnalysis CDx.

Breast Cancer Stats for BRCA Genetic Mutation & Mammograms

The National Cancer Institute recommends genetic counseling before and after genetic testing. MyOncoPath, a telemedicine genetics clinic, partners with cancer patients and oncology providers to ensure patients receive the right genetic testing by navigating through genetic and diagnostic tests. MyOncoPath partners with various labs to offer a wide selection of genetic tests and companion diagnostics, including tumor profiling, liquid biopsies, and more. MyOncoPath’s goal is make genetic testing accessible because it allows insight into the makeup of an exact cancer, opening up treatment options with the ultimate of goal of better clinical outcomes via precision medicine.

“This class of drugs has been used to treat advanced, BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer and has now shown efficacy in treating certain types of BRCA-mutated breast cancer,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This approval demonstrates the current paradigm of developing drugs that target the underlying genetic causes of a cancer, often across cancer types.”

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 40,610 will die of the disease. Approximately 20-25 percent of patients with hereditary breast cancers and 5-10 percent of patients with any type of breast cancer have a BRCA mutation. BRCA genes are involved with repairing damaged DNA and normally work to prevent tumor development. However, mutations of these genes may lead to certain cancers, including breast cancers.

Lynparza is a PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor that blocks an enzyme involved in repairing damaged DNA. By blocking this enzyme, DNA inside the cancerous cells with damaged BRCA genes may be less likely to be repaired, leading to cell death and possibly a slow-down or stoppage of tumor growth. Lynparza was first approved by the FDA in 2014 to treat certain patients with ovarian cancer and is now indicated for the treatment of patients with germline breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA) mutated, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer, who have been previously treated with chemotherapy. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior hormonal (endocrine) therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine treatment.

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

Today, the FDA also expanded the approval of the BRACAnalysis CDx, an approved companion diagnostic to Lynparza, to include the detection of BRCA mutations in blood samples from patients with breast cancer. MyOncoPath can assist breast cancer patients and oncology providers with genetic counseling to assess if this test is applicable, order testing, and provide a clinical report with the findings and opportunities.

The safety and efficacy of Lynparza for the treatment of breast cancer was based on a randomized clinical trial of 302 patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer with a germline BRCA mutation. The trial measured the length of time the tumors did not have significant growth after treatment (progression-free survival). The median progression-free survival for patients taking Lynparza was 7 months compared to 4.2 months for patients taking chemotherapy only.

Common side effects of Lynparza include low levels of red blood cells (anemia), low levels of certain white blood cells (neutropenia, leukopenia), nausea, fatigue, vomiting, common cold (nasopharyngitis), respiratory tract infection, influenza, diarrhea, joint pain (arthralgia/myalgia), unusual taste sensation (dysgeusia), headache, indigestion (dyspepsia), decreased appetite, constipation and inflammation and sores in the mouth (stomatitis).

Severe side effects of Lynparza include development of certain blood or bone marrow cancers (myelodysplastic syndrome/acute myeloid leukemia) and inflammation in the lungs (pneumonitis). Lynparza can cause harm to a developing fetus; women should be advised of the potential risk to the fetus and to use effective contraception. Women taking Lynparza should not breastfeed as it could cause harm to a newborn baby.

This application was granted Priority Review, under which the FDA’s goal is to take action on an application within 6 months where the agency determines that the drug, if approved, would significantly improve the safety or effectiveness of treating, diagnosing or preventing a serious condition.

Lynparza is also approved for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated, advanced ovarian cancer who have received three or more treatments of chemotherapy, and for the maintenance treatment of patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer whose tumors have completely or partially responded to chemotherapy.

The FDA granted the approval of Lynparza to AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. The approval of the BRACAnalysis CDx was granted to Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. on January 12, 2018.

MyOncoPath serves as the genetic experts on your medical team. You are welcome to schedule with us directly – no referral necessary. You are also welcome to schedule with us via a referral from your oncologist or healthcare provider. Please call 1.888.335.8006, email us at contact@myoncopath.com or fill in the form below to inquire about a consultation.

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