AstraZeneca’s Lynparza approved by NHS England

NHS England has approved the use of AstraZeneca’s Lynparza (olaparib) for the treatment of patients with breast cancer and prostate cancer. This approval means men with advanced prostate cancer and women with HER2-negative early breast cancer who are at high risk of the disease returning will be offered olaparib through the NHS in England. The decision has already received praise from charities and clinicians.
The drug, taken as a tablet, is a type of targeted drug called a PARP inhibitor, which prevents cancer cells from repairing. It targets cancers with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, stopping the cancerous cells from repairing their DNA therefore causing them to die.
Clinical trials have shown that prostate cancer patients treated with olaparib live for an additional “average of six months” according to NHS England. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of the BRCA-mutant, HER2-negative early breast cancer from returning within four years by almost a third.
It is expected that around 550 men with prostate cancer and 300 women with HER2-negative early breast cancer will be eligible for the drug each year in England.
NHS England chief executive, Amanda Pritchard commented: “Olaparib could have a huge impact on patients with a range of cancer types, giving many a better chance of survival while offering those with advanced forms of the disease precious extra months to live.”
Johann De Bono, professor in Experimental Cancer Medicine at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), added: “Olaparib is an important example of how understanding the underlying genetics of patients, and their tumours’ genomics, can be used to design highly targeted precision medicines. For patients with advanced prostate cancer and mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2, these recommendations will be life-changing.”