FDA Approves Drug for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

By Zosia Chustecka
WebMD Health News

Dec. 30, 2019 -- There's a new treatment option for some patients with pancreatic cancer -- those who carry a specific genetic mutation can now be treated with the drug olaparib (Lynparza).

The FDA approved olaparib for use as a first-line treatment of cancer that has grown beyond the pancreas in patients with what's known as a germline BRCA mutation.

Olaparib is already approved for use in BRCA-mutated ovarian and breast cancers.

But there are several other treatments for these two cancer types, whereas there are few options for pancreatic cancer. It's one of the most devastating cancers -- survival rates are the lowest of the most common cancer types. (The 5-year survival rate is only 2% to 9%.)

"Metastatic pancreatic cancer patients have been waiting a long time for new therapy options for their devastating disease," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a patient support group.

"Today's approval of olaparib provides an exciting new treatment option for patients with germline BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer," she said in a statement.

About 4% to 9% of people who have metastatic pancreatic cancer are thought to carry the BRCA mutation.

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