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"Drug slows tumour growth in some breast cancers"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 06 Jul 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

Keywords: breast cancer mammogram brca1 brca2 olaparib cancerous cells

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

TORONTO - An experimental drug designed to attack breast cancer cells caused by a particular genetic mutation appears to show some promise in arresting the growth of tumours, researchers say.

In a small study of women with advanced breast cancer caused by a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, the oral drug olaparib was found to slow tumour growth to varying degrees in 85 per cent of patients, researchers report in Tuesday's edition of The Lancet...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a report of a Lancet-published phase 2 trial of women with advanced breast cancer (BRCA1 genetic mutation) that had not responded to conventional treatment. With a total of 54 women in the trial, half of them got 400 mg of olaparib twice daily and the other half each 100 mg twice a day. According to the article "the heftier dose appeared to work better: a higher percentage of women had tumour shrinkage or slowed tumour growth compared with the lower-dose group. And those on the higher dose survived slightly longer."

This article lacks specific details as to the actual effects of the drug treatment and because there was no control group (receiving no treatment at all), it is hard to say what conclusions can be drawn from the study. The report did include appropriate caveats about the fact the drug is still in development and further research is needed so consumers aren't likely to be clamoring, yet, for such a treatment. What is missing, however, is the much needed discussion of the evidence and an explanation of the fact this is a phase II trial.

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