Niraparib as an oral formulation is in clinical development for maintenance therapy in patients with advanced ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer following response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer includes a group of tumours that arise from diverse types of tissue contained in the ovary. The most common type of ovarian cancer arises from epithelial cells (the outside layer of cells) on the surface of the ovary, and can often spread from the ovary to any surface within the abdominal cavity including the fallopian tubes and peritoneal cavity. Fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer are histologically equivalent diseases to epithelial ovarian cancer.
Niraparib is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. This means it blocks the action of enzymes called PARP-1 and PARP-2 that help to repair damaged DNA in cells when they divide to make new cells. By blocking PARP enzymes, the damaged DNA in cancer cells cannot be repaired, and the cells die. If licensed for this additional indication, niraparib will offer a maintenance treatment option for patients with advanced ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer following response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.