Dr. Hall Discusses Rationale for the POLO Trial in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Michael J. Hall, MD, MS
Published: Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019



Michael J. Hall, MD, MS, chair, Department of Clinical Genetics, director, Gastrointestinal Risk Assessment, associate professor, Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses the rationale for the POLO trial in metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Metastatic pancreatic cancer has one of the poorest prognoses in oncology, Hall says. Traditionally, the only treatment option for the majority of patients who present with metastatic disease is cytotoxic chemotherapy. This is particularly challenging because these regimens are difficult to tolerate for symptomatic patients.

Preliminary data from several years ago suggest that pancreatic tumors with germline BRCA mutations respond differently to platinum-based therapy. Over time, researchers began to understand that homologous recombination deficiency drove this unique response. The emergence of PARP inhibitors generated renewed interest in this space, although researchers were skeptical that an oral agent could lead to improved outcomes in pancreatic cancer, says Hall.

In the phase III POLO trial presented at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, maintenance therapy with olaparib (Lynparza) significantly improved progression-free survival compared with placebo among patients with germline BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer.
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Michael J. Hall, MD, MS, chair, Department of Clinical Genetics, director, Gastrointestinal Risk Assessment, associate professor, Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses the rationale for the POLO trial in metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Metastatic pancreatic cancer has one of the poorest prognoses in oncology, Hall says. Traditionally, the only treatment option for the majority of patients who present with metastatic disease is cytotoxic chemotherapy. This is particularly challenging because these regimens are difficult to tolerate for symptomatic patients.

Preliminary data from several years ago suggest that pancreatic tumors with germline BRCA mutations respond differently to platinum-based therapy. Over time, researchers began to understand that homologous recombination deficiency drove this unique response. The emergence of PARP inhibitors generated renewed interest in this space, although researchers were skeptical that an oral agent could lead to improved outcomes in pancreatic cancer, says Hall.

In the phase III POLO trial presented at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, maintenance therapy with olaparib (Lynparza) significantly improved progression-free survival compared with placebo among patients with germline BRCA-mutated metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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