In more positive Lynparza (olaparib) results from the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress, MSD and AstraZeneca have announced that the drug, in combination with bevacizumab, reduced the risk of disease progression or death in ovarian cancer by 41% in the Phase III PAOLA-1 trial.

The drug demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) in women with newly-diagnosed advanced versions of the disease, improving it to a median of 22.1 months vs. 16.6 months. The companies also revealed that at two years since trial initiation, 46% of women treated with Lynparza added to bevacizumab showed no disease progression vs. 28% of women receiving bevacizumab alone.

Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, MSD Research Laboratories, said that PAOLA-1 is the “second positive Phase III trial involving Lynparza in the 1st-line maintenance setting for advanced ovarian cancer, following the positive SOLO-1 trial,” and that the company is “encouraged by the PAOLA-1 results which reaffirm AstraZeneca and MSD’s ongoing commitment to explore potential treatment options for more women with ovarian cancer.”

Lynparza is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to block DNA damage response (DDR) in cells/tumours harbouring a deficiency in homologous recombination repair, such as mutations in BRCA1 and/or BRCA2.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. In 2018, there were nearly 300,000 new cases diagnosed and around 185,000 deaths. Most women are diagnosed with advanced (Stage III or IV) ovarian cancer and have a five-year survival rate of approximately 30%.