Drug Candidates Derailed in Case of Mistaken Identity

April 2, 2012


Susan Domchek, MD, an associate professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of the MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center, is quoted in an article in Nature about the failed results -- despite initial promise -- of a class of cancer drugs known as PARP inhibitors. Domchek suspects that one of the drugs, olaparib, did poorly because it was tested in a broad population of cancer patients, rather than being targeted to those most likely to benefit. For example, cancer-promoting mutations in the breast-cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 also disable DNA-repair pathways, and studies have shown that patients with these mutations do respond to PARP inhibitors. Plans to test olaparib in patients who carry the BRCA mutations were put on hold following poor ovarian cancer results. Nevertheless, “after these failures, people are again looking more carefully at this population of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers” says Domchek... Read More