Having lived with metastatic breast cancer for eleven years there are certain things that I take for granted. One is that everyone knows the definition of “metastatic.” I’m not sure what this says about me –perhaps I’ve been living in the crazy world of breast cancer for so long that I’ve stopped paying attention– but many people don’t understand. Before I go any further let me clear any confusion by defining metastatic, in this case, breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to other organs in the body; primarily the liver, lungs, brain or bones. This doesn’t change the type of cancer; it remains breast cancer and is treated as such. Survival rates vary.
My breast cancer metastasized to my liver three years after my initial diagnosis, and I have been NED (no evidence of disease) for several years. One of the questions that I’m most often asked is, “What’s your secret for staying alive”? What I share is no secret, it’s medical research. I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer and have been on Herceptin from the moment my disease progressed. Herceptin is a groundbreaking medication that was approved by the FDA in 1998. It gives immense hope to women living with this aggressive form of cancer. Again, research.
The Power of Research
It’s important to keep in mind that cancer is not one disease, it’s over 200! It can take years, countless hours of research and dedication of many to create a medical breakthrough with a life-saving drug. Yet, one mediation can save thousands of lives.
With this in mind, I congratulate, give a high five and a loud round of applause to the folks at AstraZeneca. They recently released news regarding the approval of LYNPARZA®.
On January 12, 2018, the FDA approved a new indication for the PARP inhibitor, LYNPARZA® (olaparib), for use in patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who have been previously treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer should have been treated with a prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine treatment. Patients are selected for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
This is the third indication approved for LYNPARZA in the US, making it the first and only PARP inhibitor approved in metastatic breast cancer, and the only PARP inhibitor approved in more than one tumor type.
The latest research suggests that 55 to 65% of women who inherit a BRCA1 mutation and approximately 45% of women who inherit a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70. BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations account for about 20 to 25% of all hereditary breast cancers and approximately 5 to 10% of all breast cancers.
Having this new treatment option for patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation addresses an unmet medical need for this patient population and further allows the treatment team to individualize patient care.
The FDA approval is based on data from the Phase III OlympiAD trial, which met the study’s primary endpoint of progression-free survival (PFS).
In December 2014, LYNPARZA was approved to treat advanced ovarian cancer, making it the first PARP inhibitor approved by the FDA for any indication. Since then, LYNPARZA has been used to treat nearly 4,000 advanced ovarian cancer patients.
For more information: http://bit.ly/2qUAp2o
Linda Carey is the co-creator of The Tutu Project and President of the Carey Foundation. She has been living with Metastatic Breast Cancer for fifteen years and is an advocate for the breast cancer community.