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For Reduced Recurrences

A new study suggests treatment with the PARP inhibitor olaparib may decrease recurrences among individuals with hereditary breast cancer, the Guardian reports.

The phase 3, double-blind, randomized study, dubbed the OlympiA trial, enrolled 1,836 patients with germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants and who had already undergone surgery and chemotherapy. Half received olaparib (AstraZeneca's Lynparza) and half placebo. As the team led by Institute of Cancer Research's Andrew Tutt reports in the New England Journal of Medicine, olaparib treatment was associated with significantly longer survival free of recurrent disease. Of the women given olaparib, 85.9 percent had no recurrent disease after three years of follow up, as compared to 77.1 percent of those given placebo.

"In curative therapy trial terms, this is a really major result," Tutt tells the Guardian. It notes the results were also presented online at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

The Wall Street Journal adds that the findings "could expand the arsenal of weapons" to treat hereditary breast cancer and could "validate the pharmaceutical industry's investment" in PARP inhibitors.

It further reports that AstraZeneca plans to submit the data to regulators to seek approval for Lynparza to treat early-stage breast cancer.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.