Quality of Life Data for PARP Inhibitor Shows Promise for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment


Results from the randomized phase 3 POLO trial are in, and the quality of life data shows promise for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who harbor a germline BRCA gene mutation.

The PARP inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza) significantly delayed progression of disease in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who also harbored a germline BRCA gene mutation, according to study findings presented during the European Society of Medical Oncology 2019 Annual Congress.

The randomized phase 3 POLO trial, which examined olaparib as a maintenance therapy, also showed the agent was well tolerated. In an interview with OncLive®, a sister publication of Oncology Nursing News®, Eileen M. O’Reilly, MD, associate director for clinical research, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, discussed the trial’s quality of life data and its clinical implications.


Quality of life data from POLO showed that both arms were well tolerated. I think one just has to keep in mind that the quality of life levels for people entering the study was high in both arms, which is quite good. I think the PARP inhibitor overall was relatively well tolerated. Anemia, fatigue, and some GI toxicity for the most part, and after a certain point there was not an adequate number of patients to evaluate sequential data.

So it's a little hard to interpret but it resonates with what we see that when pancreas cancer is well controlled, as it was in both arms entering the randomization phase, the acute symptoms of the disease are much improved for most people and that quality of life is relatively good. I think it's a little bit of a surprise there was a difference between a placebo, but again it's relatively small numbers and I think we have to keep an open mind on that.

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