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How effective is Lynparza (olaparib)?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on July 15, 2022.

Official answer


Key Points

  • In the treatment of advanced or metastatic cancers, such as ovarian, breast (metastatic or early), pancreatic or prostate cancer, Lynparza has been shown in studies to lower or delay the risk of the disease progression and extend survival when compared to a placebo (an inactive pill) or another cancer treatment.
  • Lynparza may be used if your cancer has a specific genetic marker (an abnormal "BRCA" or "HRR" gene). Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested for these genes.
  • The effectiveness and study results of Lynparza are different for each patient group and cancer type. Not everyone will respond to treatment with Lynparza. Speak with your healthcare provider about your specific circumstances.

Lynparza (olaparib) is an oral medicine approved for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and peritoneal cancer; breast cancer; pancreatic cancer; and prostate cancer that is metastatic (has spread in the body). It is also approved to as an adjunct to treat HER2-negative, high-risk early breast cancer with BRCA mutations.

How effective is Lynparza for ovarian cancer?

In advanced ovarian cancer, Lynparza can help keep ovarian cancer from growing or returning after you have had a response to platinum-based chemotherapy that you received before Lynparza.

  • In women with a BRCA mutation who had responded to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, Lynparza lowered the risk of the disease progression or death by 70%, when compared to a placebo (an inactive pill).
  • Most women (61%, or 158 out of 260 women) did not see their cancer grow or return for a median of 3.4 years.
  • In women with or without a BRCA mutation who had responded to second-line chemotherapy, Lynparza reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 65%, when compared to a placebo.
  • Most women (136 out of 265 women) did not have their cancer progress for a median of 8.4 months compared to 4.8 months for women in the placebo group.

Lynparza has also shown positive results in other studies in women with advanced ovarian cancer when used with bevacizumab (Avastin). Talk to your doctor about Lynparza and how it may work for you.

How effective is Lynparza for breast cancer?

HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer with BRCA mutations

Lynparza is used to help shrink or slow the growth inherited of BRCA-mutated, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).

You should have already received chemotherapy medicines, either before or after your cancer has spread. If you have hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer, you should have been treated with hormonal therapy.

  • In metastatic breast cancer, Lynparza delayed disease progression by 7 months compared to 4.2 months for patients who were given chemotherapy treatment.
  • People treated with Lynparza were 42% less likely to have their cancer grow or spread than those on chemotherapy.
  • In addition, 52% of people (87 of 167) saw their tumor shrink, compared to 23% (15 of 166) who received certain chemotherapy treatments.

HER2-negative, high-risk early breast cancer with BRCA mutations

  • In the OlympiA Phase 3 study, woman and men had previous surgery and received chemotherapy either before or after their surgery. Some patients with hormone receptor–positive breast cancer may have also received hormonal therapy. In the study, 921 adults were treated with Lynparza and 915 were treated with a placebo (an inactive treatment).
  • Results from the study showed that Lynparza reduced the risk of breast cancer returning by 42% when compared to a placebo (815 / 921 patients treated with Lynparza did not have their breast cancer return, compared to 737 out of 915 patients treated with placebo)
  • Lynparza also reduced the risk of death by 32% versus placebo (a secondary endpoint).

How effective is Lynparza for pancreatic cancer?

Lynparza can be used as a maintenance treatment for patients with a form of pancreatic cancer that has abnormal genes (gBRCA mutations). It can be used when the cancer has not progressed after at least 16 weeks of first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.

  • In one study, 92 patients received Lynparza and 62 patients received an inactive placebo. In the patients who received Lynparza, the cancer did not grow or return for 7.4 months, compared to 3.8 months for those who received a placebo.
  • Lynparza reduced the risk of the cancer growing or returning by 47% when compared to a placebo.

How effective is Lynparza for prostate cancer?

Lynparza is also used to treat metastatic prostate cancer with certain inherited or acquired abnormal genes (HRR gene mutations) which no longer responds to previous treatments or surgery.

  • In studies in men with BRCA1, BRCA2, or ATM gene mutations, Lynparza doubled the median time without cancer progression or death to 7.4 months, compared to 3.6 months with the hormone treatments enzalutamide (Xtandi) or abiraterone (Yonsa, Zytiga).
  • Overall, 56 out of 162 men (35%) who took Lyparza did not have disease progression or death compared to 15 out of 83 men (18%) on enzalutamide or abiraterone.
  • Thirty-three percent of men on Lynparza saw their tumors shrink compared to 2% of those on enzalutamide or abiraterone.
  • Lynparza lowered the risk of death by 31% compared to enzalutamide or abiraterone. The median time that a patient lived after the start of Lynparza was 19.1 months compared to 14.7 months for patients taking enzalutamide or abiraterone.

What are the most common side effects with Lynparza?

  • nausea
  • fatigue (including asthenia)
  • anemia
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • decreased appetite
  • headache
  • dysgeusia (altered taste)
  • neutropenia (low numbers of a type of white blood cell)
  • dizziness
  • dyspepsia (heartburn)
  • leukopenia (low numbers of a type of white blood cell)
  • thrombocytopenia (low numbers of platelets)

Lynparza is also associated with other common or serious side effects and warnings. Review the product labeling to learn more and speak with your health care provider before treatment begins.

Learn more: Lynparza Patient Information

This is not all the information you need to know about Lynparza (olaparib) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Lynparza information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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