Olaparib is in clinical development as a monotherapy for the treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer with breast cancer mutated (BRCAm) gene or ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM). Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the UK. The cancer is called advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer when the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body like bones, lymph nodes outside the pelvis or to the liver or lungs. It is not possible to cure metastatic prostate cancer but is possible to keep it under control. Over time, many prostate cancers continue to grow despite hormonal therapies (and are called “castration-resistant” prostate cancer).
Olaparib is taken orally and works by blocking a protein called poly [adenosine diphosphate-ribose] polymerase (PARP). PARP is an important protein which tries to fix damaged deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). By blocking PARP from fixing damaged DNA, the tumour cells may die. If licensed, olaparib will offer an additional treatment option for men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer with BRCAm or ATM mutations who have progressed following a prior new hormonal agent.
Pembrolizumab in addition to platinum therapy and radiation is in clinical development for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Cancers that are collectively known as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). The main risk factors for squamous cell carcinomas are smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. Symptoms may include sore throat, difficulty swallowing and pain in the ears and others. Treatment options for cancer that has spread usually involve chemotherapy such as (platinum-based therapy) and/or radiotherapy and focus on relieving symptoms and prolonging life rather than curing the cancer.