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N Engl J Med. 2019 Jul 25;381(4):317-327. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1903387. Epub 2019 Jun 2.

Maintenance Olaparib for Germline BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer.

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From the Oncology Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel (T.G.); Hôpital Beaujon (Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris), Clichy, and University Paris VII, Paris (P.H.); IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan (M.R.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata Verona, Verona (G.T.), and Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Gemelli IRCCS, Rome (G.T.) - all in Italy; University Hospitals Gasthuisberg and KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (E.V.C.); Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona (T.M.); Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (M.J.H.); Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine (J.-O.P.), and Seoul National University Hospital, Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine (D.-Y.O.) - both in Seoul, South Korea; University College London Cancer Institute, London (D.H.), and AstraZeneca, Cambridge (D.M.) - both in the United Kingdom; Asklepios Tumorzentrum Hamburg Asklepios Klinik Altona, Hamburg (D.A.), St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum (A.R.-S.), and Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Internal Medicine II, Technische Universität München, Munich (H.A.) - all in Germany; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (E.M.O.); AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD (K.Y.C., G.Y.L.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (K.S.); and the University of Chicago, Chicago (H.L.K.).



Patients with a germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation make up a small subgroup of those with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor olaparib has had antitumor activity in this population.


We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial to evaluate the efficacy of olaparib as maintenance therapy in patients who had a germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and metastatic pancreatic cancer and disease that had not progressed during first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned, in a 3:2 ratio, to receive maintenance olaparib tablets (300 mg twice daily) or placebo. The primary end point was progression-free survival, which was assessed by blinded independent central review.


Of the 3315 patients who underwent screening, 154 underwent randomization and were assigned to a trial intervention (92 to receive olaparib and 62 to receive placebo). The median progression-free survival was significantly longer in the olaparib group than in the placebo group (7.4 months vs. 3.8 months; hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.82; P = 0.004). An interim analysis of overall survival, at a data maturity of 46%, showed no difference between the olaparib and placebo groups (median, 18.9 months vs. 18.1 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.56 to 1.46; P = 0.68). There was no significant between-group difference in health-related quality of life, as indicated by the overall change from baseline in the global quality-of-life score (on a 100-point scale, with higher scores indicating better quality of life) based on the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (between-group difference, -2.47 points; 95% CI, -7.27 to 2.33). The incidence of grade 3 or higher adverse events was 40% in the olaparib group and 23% in the placebo group (between-group difference, 16 percentage points; 95% CI, -0.02 to 31); 5% and 2% of the patients, respectively, discontinued the trial intervention because of an adverse event.


Among patients with a germline BRCA mutation and metastatic pancreatic cancer, progression-free survival was longer with maintenance olaparib than with placebo. (Funded by AstraZeneca and others; POLO number, NCT02184195.).

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