PARP Inhibitors: Reducing Ovarian Cancer Recurrence Risk


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— More than 20,000 women in the U.S. will hear the words “you have ovarian cancer” this year. For women who beat the cancer the first time, more than 70 percent will have a recurrence. Now clinical trials have shown a new medication is revealing promising results for delaying recurrence. PARP Inhibitors

Fifty-five-year-old Gilda Michel loves being active. But after losing a lot of weight, she noticed something didn’t seem quite right.

“My stomach was not getting any smaller and was also hurting a lot,” Gilda recalled.

She got a CT scan and …

“They said I had tumors on my ovaries,” Gilda shared.

It was stage three ovarian cancer. She had surgery, 21 sessions of chemotherapy, and 25 rounds of radiation to get rid of the cancer.

“A few years ago, was that you gave a patient intravenous chemotherapy, usually typically six cycles, and then you sit and wait,” described Emery Salom, MD, a gynecologic oncologist.

(Read Full Interview)

But now patients can be proactive against recurrence by getting maintenance therapy with PARP inhibitors right after finishing their first round of chemo.

“PARP inhibitors are a new class of medications in which they’re antibody mediated to block a specific function in the repair mechanism of cells,” Dr. Salom explained.

PARP inhibitors stop cancer cells from being repaired, which ultimately causes the cancer cells to die. Studies have shown that patients on PARP inhibitors have had recurrence delayed.

“The response rate in a subset of women is significant to delay the time to recurrence for more than a year,” Dr. Salom concluded.

For Gilda, whose cancer is now gone and has been on the PARP inhibitors for six months, that’s great news.

“It makes me happy that there’s something there that can help you,” Gilda shared.

And give her more time … to do what she loves.

The patients that did the best on PARP inhibitors were the ones who had the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. PARP inhibitors should not be given to patients who have had side effects from chemotherapy in which their blood counts are low or those who have had previous PARP inhibitors for another disease.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy Mcgrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on medical breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at:






REPORT:       MB #4884

BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is a disease in which, depending on the type and stage of the disease, cancerous cells are found inside, near, or on the outer layer of the ovaries. A woman has two almond-shaped ovaries which are organs that are located on both side of the uterus and store eggs or germ cell and produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women ages 35-74 and an estimated one woman in 78 will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime.


DIAGNOSING: Early symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to other common illnesses or they tend to come and go making them easy to overlook. Early symptoms of ovarian cancer can include but are not limited to: abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain, feeling abnormal fullness after eating, having difficulty eating, having an increase urge to urinate. Other symptoms can also include being fatigued, having indigestion, feeling heartburn, having constipation, having back pain, having menstrual irregularities, and having painful intercourse.  Symptoms can become more severe as the tumor grows and once the cancer spreads outside of the ovaries it can make it much harder to treat ovarian cancer effectively.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Following the results of the SOLO-1 trial, maintenance PARP inhibitors have become the standard of care for patients with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer; however, more survival data is needed in order to confirm their potentially curative benefit. Initial data from the SOLO-1 trial indicates that patients with advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer who received Olaparib medication for their maintenance treatment ((Lynparza) following platinum-based chemotherapy experienced a 70% reduction in the risk of progression or death versus those who received placebo. Data from a single five-year follow-up reveals an average progression-free survival (PFS) of 56 months in the Olaparib maintenance arm versus 13.8 months in the placebo arm. Ongoing trials are examining the agents, seen within the success from the PARP inhibitors, in several novel combination with either chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies like HDAC inhibitors, TKI inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies.




(954) 715-3918

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Emery Salom, MD, associate professor and clerkship director at the department and division of Gynecologic Oncology

Read the entire Q&A