Olaparib (trade name: Lynparza) has been approved in Germany since April 2019 for the treatment of advanced HER2-negative breast cancer in adults, if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body or is locally advanced. This drug is a treatment option for people who have a mutated BRCA gene. These people should also have already received treatment with an anthracycline and a taxane drug, if they can tolerate them. People who have hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer should have already had hormone therapy that was ineffective (unless this treatment wasn't an option).
Breast tumors are surgically removed, if possible. But sometimes the tumor has already become too large or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). This is called advanced breast cancer.
Breast cancer is caused by changes (mutations) in the genes of the cells. In some women the mutations are found in the genes BRCA-1 or BRCA-2. The abbreviation BRCA stands for breast cancer gene.
The growth of tumor cells in breast cancer is influenced by various factors. These include a certain protein on the surface of the cancer cells called the HER2 receptor (human epidermal growth factor receptor). HER2 receptors respond to growth signals and trigger tumor growth. If there are a smaller number of these receptors on the cells of a breast tumor, it is called HER2-negative breast cancer. HER2-negative breast cancer grows relatively slowly. Olaparib has only been approved for the treatment of HER2-negative breast cancer.
Olaparib decreases the production of several proteins that influence tumor growth.