The Interplay between PARP Inhibitors and Immunotherapy in Ovarian Cancer: The Rationale behind a New Combination Therapy

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 31;23(7):3871. doi: 10.3390/ijms23073871.


Ovarian cancer (OC) has a high impact on morbidity and mortality in the female population. Survival is modest after platinum progression. Therefore, the search for new therapeutic strategies is of utmost importance. BRCA mutations and HR-deficiency occur in around 50% of OC, leading to increased response and survival after Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPis) administration. PARPis represent a breakthrough for OC therapy, with three different agents approved. On the contrary, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), another breakthrough therapy for many solid tumors, led to modest results in OC, without clinical approvals and even withdrawal of clinical trials. Therefore, combinations aiming to overcome resistance mechanisms have become of great interest. Recently, PARPis have been evidenced to modulate tumor microenvironment at the molecular and cellular level, potentially enhancing ICIs responsiveness. This represents the rationale for the combined administration of PARPis and ICIs. Our review ought to summarize the preclinical and translational features that support the contemporary administration of these two drug classes, the clinical trials conducted so far, and future directions with ongoing studies.

Keywords: BRCA; HRD; ICIs; OC; PARP inhibitors; durvalumab; immune checkpoint inhibitors; niraparib; olaparib; ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors* / pharmacology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors