The Current Landscape of PARP Inhibitors in Ovarian Cancer

  • Camille C. Gunderson
  • Britt K. Erickson
  • Megan E. Buechel
  • Kathleen N. Moore
Gynecologic Oncology (A Fader, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Gynecologic Oncology


Purpose of Review

The aim of this study is to discuss the background of PARP inhibitors and to provide an overview of the utility of these drugs for treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Recent Findings

Numerous phase I–III trials are presented within the manuscript that outline the safety and efficacy of several PARP inhibitors in women with primary and recurrent ovarian cancer. There are now three FDA-approved PARP inhibitors for use in ovarian cancer patients in the USA: olaparib, niraparib, and rucaparib. These drugs have activity both alone and in combination with other agents, including chemotherapy and targeted anti-cancer drugs. Although PARP inhibitor toxicities often overlap with chemotherapy including myelosuppression, fatigue, and gastrointestinal distress, there are idiosyncratic differences in adverse event profiles and peculiar aspects of each drug. Additionally, the indications for use differ with respect to line of chemotherapy, whether a germline or somatic BRCA mutation is required, and maintenance versus active treatment intention. Although these were initially thought to be only applicable to patients with germline BRCA mutations, we now know that other patients benefit from these agents alone and in combination.


The first PARP inhibitor was approved for use in the USA less than 3 years ago, but we are rapidly gaining knowledge about when and in which settings to use these drugs. Continued focused study with clinical trials will enable us to identify the optimal patient populations for prescription of these agents.


PARP inhibitors Ovarian cancer Epithelial ovarian cancer Olaparib Niraparib Rucaparib 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Britt K. Erickson and Megan E. Buechel declare no conflict of interest. Camille C. Gunderson is on the Clovis advisory board Dr Gunderson is also a consultant for Celsion. Kathleen N. Moore is on the advisory boards for Genentech Roche, Astra Zeneca, Amgen, Immunogen, Clovis, Tesaro, Janssen, and VBL Therapeutics.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camille C. Gunderson
    • 1
  • Britt K. Erickson
    • 2
  • Megan E. Buechel
    • 1
  • Kathleen N. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Stephenson Cancer Center, Section of Gynecologic OncologyThe University of OklahomaOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic OncologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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