Apparently a drug known as olaparib (a so-called poly-ADP ribose polymerase or PARP inhibitor) has shown significant signs of activity against advanced prostate cancer in men who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Olaparib was being tested in an open-label, Phase II trial on BRCA1/2 patients with several different types of cancer including (for the first time) some patients with BRCA1/2+ positive cancers other than than breast and ovarian cancer. Among the > 300 patients enrolled into this trial, just eight had heavily pretreated, advanced forms of prostate cancer; among these individuals, however, 4/8 patients (50 percent) showed objective clinical responses to olaparib, with 4/8 patients (50 percent) surviving for > 1 year on treatment.
Information about this study is provided in a media release issued to day by the University of Pennsylvania and in the abstract of a paper by Kaufman et al. to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to be held starting on May 31 in Chicago.
Clearly these are very preliminary data with relevance to a small subset of men with progressive forms of prostate cancer, but they may be of considerable importance to men with BRCA1/2 forms of prostate cancer that are relatively unresponsive to other forms of therapy.