Olaparib (Lynparza) in women who have high-grade epithelial ovarian cancer and are having a platinum-sensitive relapse

In 2018, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into whether olaparib has any advantages or disadvantages compared with the watchful waiting approach in women with high-grade epithelial ovarian cancer who are having a platinum-sensitive relapse.

The manufacturer provided two studies involving 560 women with usable data. Almost all of the women had serous ovarian cancer.

The results of one of the studies (involving a total of 265 women) were analyzed after about 8 years. The other study (involving a total of 295 women) is still on-going, but an interim analysis was completed after about 3 years. Overall, 332 women received olaparib and 228 women were given the standard treatment (watchful waiting). Some initial conclusions can be drawn from these two studies.

What are the advantages of olaparib?

Life expectancy: The studies suggest that olaparib has an advantage here. One of the studies showed that women who took olaparib lived for about 2 months longer. The women who took olaparib died after about 30 months on average (median value), compared to about 28 months in women who had the standard treatment.

What are the disadvantages of olaparib?

Severe side effects: Early analyses suggest that olaparib has a disadvantage here compared to the standard treatment approach. Severe side effects occurred in about 38 out of 100 women in the olaparib group and in only about 20 out of 100 women in the comparison group.

Severe anemia is one of these side effects: The study suggests that olaparib has a disadvantage here too. Severe anemia occurred in about 12 out of 100 women who used olaparib, and in only about 1 out of 100 women in the comparison group.

Nausea and vomiting: Early analyses suggest that olaparib also has a disadvantage regarding these side effects.

  • Nausea occurred in about 73 out of 100 people who had treatment with olaparib, and in only about 35 out of 100 people in the comparison group.
  • Vomiting occurred in about 35 out of 100 people in the olaparib group, compared to only about 17 out of 100 people in the comparison group.

No difference

No difference was found in terms of the following:

  • Health-related quality of life
  • General health

No difference was found in terms of treatment stopped due to side effects either.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Olaparib (ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer) – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V. Dossier assessment; Commission A18-36. August 31, 2018. (IQWiG reports; Volume 666).

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Created on November 7, 2019
Next planned update: 2022

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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