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Systematic (IUPAC) name
4-[(3-[(4-cyclopropylcarbonyl)piperazin-4-yl]carbonyl) -4-fluorophenyl]methyl(2H)phthalazin-1-one
Clinical data
Routes of
Legal status
Legal status
  • Investigational
CAS Number 763113-22-0
ATC code none
PubChem CID 23725625
Chemical data
Formula C24H23FN4O3
Molar mass 435.08 g/mol[[Script error: No such module "String".]]
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Olaparib (AZD-2281) is a chemotherapeutic agent developed by KuDOS Pharmaceuticals and later by Astra Zeneca. It is an inhibitor of PARP, an enzyme involved in DNA repair.[1] It acts against cancers in people with hereditary BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which includes many ovarian, breast and prostate cancers. Early (Phase I) trials have been promising, and it is now in Phase II trials, but is not clinically approved.

Mechanism of action

Olaparib acts as an inhibitor of the enzyme Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) and is one of the first PARP inhibitors. Patients with BRCA1/2 mutations may be genetically predisposed to developing some forms of cancer, and are often resistant to other forms of cancer treatment, but this also sometimes gives their cancers a unique vulnerability, as the cancer cells have increased reliance on PARP to repair their DNA and enable them to continue dividing. This means that drugs which selectively inhibit PARP may be of significant benefit in patients whose cancers are susceptible to this treatment.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Trial results

Phase I clinical trials, in patients with BRCA-mutated tumors including ovarian cancer, were encouraging.[8] In one of these studies, it was given to 19 patients with inherited forms of advanced breast, ovarian and prostate cancers caused by mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In 12 of the patients, none of whom had responded to other therapies, tumours shrank or stabilised.[9] One of the first patients to be given the treatment is still in remission after two years.

Phase II clinical trials are ongoing in breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer.[10][11]

Side effects

Olaparib is generally well tolerated, the side effects consist mainly of fatigue, somnolence, nausea, loss of appetite and thrombocytopenia.


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  1. "Olaparib, a PARP Inhibitor". Health and Life. 
  2. New cancer drug 'shows promise' BBC News 24 June 2009
  3. Olaparib for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
  4. Vasiliou S, Castaner R, Bolos J. Olaparib. Drugs of the Future. 2009; 34(2): 101.
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  8. http://www.ncri.org.uk/ncriconference/archive/2007/abstracts/pdf/LB57.pdf "A Phase I trial of AZD2281 (KU-0059436), a PARP inhibitor with single agent anticancer activity in patients with BRCA deficient tumours, particularly ovarian cancer"
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  10. http://www.cancercompass.com/cancer-news/1,15869,00.htm "Phase II Trials Investigating Oral PARP Inhibitor, Olaparib, In BRCA-Deficient Advanced Breast And Ovarian Cancer" June 2009
  11. Efficacy and Safety of Olaparib in Pretreated Patients With Measurable Colorectal Cancer, Stratified by Microsatellite Instability (MSI) Status