Mesothelioma Olaparib Clinical Trial Targets Genetic MutationResearch & Clinical Trials
Written by Tim Povtak
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family.LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Povtak, T. (2023, September 28). Mesothelioma Olaparib Clinical Trial Targets Genetic Mutation. Asbestos.com. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2021/08/24/mesothelioma-trial-genetic-mutation/
Povtak, Tim. "Mesothelioma Olaparib Clinical Trial Targets Genetic Mutation." Asbestos.com, 28 Sep 2023, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2021/08/24/mesothelioma-trial-genetic-mutation/.
Povtak, Tim. "Mesothelioma Olaparib Clinical Trial Targets Genetic Mutation." Asbestos.com. Last modified September 28, 2023. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2021/08/24/mesothelioma-trial-genetic-mutation/.
The mesothelioma program at University of Chicago Medicine is recruiting patients for its latest clinical trial involving olaparib, an oral chemotherapy drug targeting cancer-driven genetic mutations.
Olaparib, also known by the brand name Lynparza, works by repairing or controlling specific gene mutations. It is known as a protein inhibitor and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use with breast and ovarian cancers.
Mesothelioma, a rare malignancy caused by exposure to asbestos particles, may be next.
Several studies have shown that mutations of the BAP1 gene increase the risk of developing mesothelioma and favor the initial growth of the cancer cells.
However, some scientists believe the mutation also makes the cancer cells more susceptible to therapy, making it a natural target for treatments such as olaparib.
Clinical Trial Recruitment Underway
Principal investigator Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, director of the mesothelioma program and associate vice chair for clinical research at University of Chicago Medicine, is hoping to recruit 56 patients. She was not available to provide additional insight into the clinical trial.
The study is designed primarily to measure the percentage of patients whose tumors shrink or stop growing in response to treatment. A secondary measurement will be overall survival and progression-free survival, along with treatment-related side effects.
Typically, patients with pleural mesothelioma receiving only standard chemotherapy survive less than 12 months after diagnosis.
To qualify for the clinical trial, patients must:
- Show evidence of the BAP1 – or similar– gene mutation
- Have had prior treatment with cisplatin or carboplatin chemotherapy
- Show platinum-sensitive disease and at least three months with no disease progression
- Have a life expectancy of 16 weeks or more before they enroll
Those starting the clinical trial will receive olaparib orally in 28-day cycles. They must be in the clinic for the first and 15th day of the first cycle, then every four weeks until discontinuation of treatment. The drug will be taken twice daily.
Olaparib Effective with Genetic Mutations
This recent study stems from the efficacy olaparib has shown for breast cancer patients with a genetic mutation similar to the BAP1 mutation often found with mesothelioma. The hope is that the drug will shrink the tumors.
FDA approval of olaparib for breast cancer was based on a phase III clinical trial showing a 42% reduction in tumor burden and an improvement in progression-free survival.
An earlier study at University of Florida Health using olaparib in combination with niraparib, another protein inhibitor, showed an ability to shrink mesothelioma cell lines in the laboratory.
The National Cancer Institute conducted a smaller clinical trial involving olaparib and mesothelioma patients that concluded earlier this year, but results were inconclusive.
Only 11 of the 23 patients in the study were identified as having a genetic mutation, which is the focus of the latest trial in Chicago. Just one of the 11 patients, the only one to complete the trial, had at least a partial response.
Five of those 11 patients experienced serious adverse side effects. There was one lung infection, one noncardiac chest pain and two abdominal disorders.
Several Mesothelioma Clinical Trials Ongoing in Chicago
This latest clinical trial at the University of Chicago Medicine, which is expected to run through October 2024, is one of just 11 studies available to patients with mesothelioma.
Among the other studies being conducted in Chicago are:
- A randomized phase II study to determine if the immunotherapy combination of pembrolizumab, brand name Keytruda, and anetumab ravtansine is superior to pembrolizumab alone for patients with unresectable pleural mesothelioma.
- A phase III randomized trial to determine the effectiveness of targeted radiation prior to aggressive surgery and standard chemotherapy, and whether it lengthens progression-free survival.
- A phase II clinical trial exploring the use of durvalumab, an immunotherapy drug, in combination with standard chemotherapy for patients with unresectable pleural mesothelioma.