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Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibition: a new direction for BRCA and triple-negative breast cancer?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ruth Plummer


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Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)mediated DNA repair have shown promise in early clinical studies in the treatment of specific subgroups of breast cancer. Notably, phase II trials indicate that olaparib, an oral PARP inhibitor, has activity as a single agent in BRCA-related tumours, and that a combination of iniparib, an intravenous PARP inhibitor, and chemotherapy offers a survival advantage, compared with chemotherapy alone, in triple-negative breast cancer. Phase III data on the latter indication are expected in 2011. Intriguingly, iniparib does not increase toxicity when used as a chemo-potentiating agent, suggesting that it differs in its mechanism of action from other agents in this class. Overall, PARP inhibitors represent a potentially important new class of anti-cancer agents with two potential modes of action, as single agents causing synthetic lethality and as chemo-potentiating agents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Plummer R

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

Year: 2011

Volume: 13

Issue: 4

Pages: 218

Print publication date: 16/08/2011

ISSN (electronic): 1465-542X



DOI: 10.1186/bcr2877