16 March 2022

On 16 March new findings from the OlympiA phase III trial were presented at a virtual plenary session from the European Society of Medical Oncology.

The results show that that for women with primary HER-2 negative breast cancer, with an altered BRCA 1 or 2 gene, olaparib added to standard treatment cuts the risk of women dying by 32 per cent – resulting in more women remaining cancer free and becoming breast cancer survivors. 

Dr Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It’s hugely exciting this research shows olaparib could save lives and prevent recurrence in some women and men living with primary breast cancer with an inherited altered BRCA gene, often known as the ‘Jolie gene’.

“We’re pleased NICE is assessing olaparib for use on the NHS, and hope this ground-breaking study’s continued success helps drive a positive decision that sees the thousands of people with altered BRCA genes who may be eligible for the drug benefit from it as soon as possible.

“This breakthrough is testament to the outstanding work, over the last 20 years, of world-class researchers - including many UK researchers funded by Breast Cancer Now - who have uncovered weaknesses in breast cancer cells and laid the foundations for this discovery.

“We understand AstraZeneca has introduced an early access programme for olaparib for eligible patients, and recommend patients speak to their clinical team about this. You can also call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to speak to one of our expert nurses.”