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.
Selpercatinib is in clinical development for the treatment of metastatic RET fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and at the metastatic stage the disease has already spread from the lungs to other sites. Around 2% of these patients will have tumours that contain fusion mutations in the RET gene. Cells in these tumour produce altered RET signalling receptors that allow uncontrolled cancer growth. Currently the only treatment options that attempt to inhibit RET fusion-positive tumour activity are nonselective multikinase inhibitors.