More women could be eligible for groundbreaking ovarian cancer drug

28 June 2018
Young scientist

The Telegraph has reported today that the latest trials of the drug Olaparib (Lynparza) have produced results that could make it accessible for a significantly increased number of women with advanced stage ovarian cancer.

Trials of the PARP inhibitor, made by Astra Zeneca, showed a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful” improvement in the length of time it took cancer to begin spreading when it was given to BRCA positive women as a first line treatment alongside their first round of chemotherapy.

Olaparib is currently only available to BRCA positive patients who have a second relapse of the disease, and are on their third round of chemotherapy. 

This news represents an exciting development in the treatment of advanced stage ovarian cancer. At present, more than half of all ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at stages 3 and 4, making it difficult to treat and very likely to spread. Any treatment that can slow disease progression from the moment treatment starts would be a huge step forward. 

The benefits of delaying disease progression in ovarian cancer patients include a better quality of life, enabling them to enjoy time with loved ones, while increasing the time between treatments means a reduction in the number of hospital visits and disruption to daily life. 

This news also reinforces the importance of ovarian cancer patients knowing their BRCA status. Currently, all women diagnosed with the most common type of ovarian cancer are entitled to genetic testing to find out if their disease was caused by a BRCA gene mutation. For more information about this visit our BRCA Hub.

This is really positive news and we look forward to seeing the data from the latest phase three trials, and what happens next in making this groundbreaking drug available to more patients. 


Ovarian Cancer Action is committed to funding research that tackles ovarian cancer at every level. Learn more about the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and other projects we’re invested in.