Conference Coverage

Novel chemo/PARP inhibitor strategy promising for advanced pancreatic cancer



– The current standard of care for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is chemotherapy continued until patients experience disease progression, unacceptable toxicities, clinical decline, or death.

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But a subset of patients with pancreatic cancer – approximately 5%-8% – have pathogenic mutations in homologous recombination genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2, or PALB2. The resulting homologous recombination deficiencies (HRD) make their cancers especially sensitive to platinum-based chemotherapy and, potentially, to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.

Now, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, are proposing to upend the conventional approach by treating patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and HRD with a novel strategy consisting of induction chemotherapy, followed by maintenance with the PARP inhibitor rucaparib (Rubraca).

In a video interview at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cancer Research, Kim A. Reiss Binder, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, describes the rationale for treating this subset of patients with this novel strategy, outlines the promising progression-free and overall survival results in a clinical study, and discusses the potential for chemotherapy and PARP inhibitors in neoadjuvant or adjuvant settings for some patients with pancreatic cancer.

The study is sponsored by the Abramson Cancer Center and is funded by Clovis Oncology. Dr. Reiss Binder receives research funding from Clovis Oncology, Tesaro, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Lilly Oncology.

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