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A Study of Niraparib Maintenance Treatment in Patients With Advanced Ovarian Cancer Following Response on Front-Line Platinum-Based Chemotherapy

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer occurs when healthy cells in an ovary change and begin to grow rapidly, creating a mass called a tumor. Some tumors are cancerous, or malignant, meaning that they can spread and may need aggressive treatment.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer, making up 85% to 90% of all ovarian cancers. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women. It may begin on the cells of the ovaries, the fallopian tubes (which connect the ovaries to the uterus) or the peritoneum, which lines the abdominal cavity.

Other ovarian cancer types include germ cell tumors, which begin in the egg-producing cells of the ovaries, and stromal tumors, which begin in the connective tissue that holds the ovaries together.

Most epithelial ovarian cancers respond well to initial treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy (i.e. carboplatin, oxaliplatin, cisplatin). When cancer responds to platinum-based chemotherapy and remains in remission for at least 6 months, it is considered platinum-sensitive.

Unfortunately, most ovarian cancers return within 3 years of going into remission.

The TESARO clinical trials are testing niraparib, a PARP inhibitor, in patients at various stages of disease progression and treatment.

Hereditary Ovarian Cancer

About 10% to 15% of ovarian cancers are hereditary, meaning that the cancer is caused by gene changes (mutations) that are passed down from parents to children.  The genes that are responsible for most hereditary ovarian cancers are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. Changes in these genes substantially increase the risk for ovarian and breast cancer, and slightly increase the risk for certain other cancers.