Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related mortality. Treatment options, particularly for tumors with mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are currently limited, and significant research has focused on the development of novel therapies. Inhibitors of poly(ADP)ribose polymerase (PARP), which specifically target BRCA-mutant cancer cells by exploiting the defective DNA repair pathways inherent in these tumors, have proven particularly promising, though clinical development has not been without challenges. Development of olaparib was halted in 2011 following disappointing clinical trial results, but the manufacturer resurrected the drug following retrospective analyses in patients with BRCA1/2 mutations.
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