Olaparib in the treatment of ovarian cancer

Future Oncol. 2019 Oct;15(30):3435-3449. doi: 10.2217/fon-2019-0271. Epub 2019 Sep 3.


The poly ADP ribose polymerase olaparib is currently approved in front line BRCA-associated epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), platinum-sensitive recurrence agnostic to BRCA status and for gBRCA as treatment in the fourth line and beyond. Women who are diagnosed with advanced stage EOC face a formidable challenge in overcoming their disease and achieving long-term, disease-free survival. The qualifier here is disease free. EOC is largely exquisitely chemosensitive, especially in the treatment naive (first line) setting and the expectation is that the vast majority of women will complete front line platinum-based chemotherapy with a response. When unselected (not selected by BRCA) women are enrolled on clinical trials, the response rate among those who have measurable disease at the time of chemotherapy initiation is 48% for carboplatin/paclitaxel and 67% for carboplatin/paclitaxel plus bevacizumab. When one considers the addition of women who start chemotherapy without measurable disease, they will likely also end chemotherapy without measurable disease and the overall rate of no evidence of disease at conclusion of chemotherapy approaches 80%. Despite this, the majority of women will suffer relapse of their disease, typically within the first 3 years following completion of therapy. Once recurrent, the disease is highly treatable for many years but no longer considered curable. This review will cover indications for olaparib in ovarian cancer as well as ongoing combination trials and rationale for these combinations.

Keywords: PARP inhibitor; clinical trials; gynecologic/ovarian.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phthalazines / therapeutic use*
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phthalazines
  • Piperazines
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • olaparib