A clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute will soon begin recruiting patients to test the effects of the drug olaparib. Researchers believe that olaparib may be capable of shrinking mesothelioma tumors.

Treating Malignant Mesothelioma with Olaparib

Olaparib has been approved for patients with a DNA mutation of their BRCA gene but not mesothelioma. Researchers want to test this drug on mesothelioma patients who have a mutation of their BAP1 gene, which is related to BRCA. Patients with all types of mesothelioma are eligible to enroll, including those without a gene mutation. Researchers expect to complete the study by 2020.

This phase II study plans to enroll 40 patients. Participants will be recruited for the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Drug Involved in the Study

  • Olaparib – is a type of chemotherapy. It is a generic form of the drug Lynparza. Olaparib is a form of targeted therapy given in pill form. The drug is an enzyme inhibitor of cancer cell DNA, cell cycle, and DNA repair. By disrupting the function of cancer cells, it stops cellular homeostasis and causes cancerous cells to die.

Chemotherapy is a promising form of treatment for mesothelioma patients of all stages. It helps with improving a patient’s life expectancy. Patients may receive this type of treatment by IV or in pill form. Currently, the only FDA approved chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are cisplatin and Alimta.

Get Help Enrolling in This Trial

The lack of treatment options for mesothelioma relative to those for other cancers make clinical trials an invaluable source of treatment. This clinical trial offers hope to pleura, peritoneal, and pericardial mesothelioma patients. A participant’s treatment plan will consist of receiving the chemotherapy drug olaparib.

Reasons to get involved in this trial include:
  • Receive proven life-extending treatment
  • Researchers believe that olaparib may be capable of shrinking mesothelioma tumors
  • Patients with all types of mesothelioma are eligible to enroll




What to Expect: Receiving Treatment with Olaparib

Individuals in this clinical trial will be given the drug olaparib. Patients will take it orally 2 times a day with or without food. The study will be completed in 21-day cycles.

During the trial, participants will undergo a complete physical exam. They will also experience blood tests, urine tests, scans, and x-rays. To be a successful candidate in this study, patients must agree to give blood and tissue samples and to complete all exams requested by researchers.

Patients will be able to remain in the study until either their disease progresses or their doctor dismisses them. Individuals will be informed about foods and medications to avoid during their participation. Enrolled participants will also be asked to keep a diary of their doses and symptoms.

Recruiting All Mesothelioma Patients

To be eligible for this clinical trial, a patient must have a confirmed diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. An individual may have any type of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, or tunica vaginalis).

Patients must have a life expectancy of at least 16 weeks or greater. At the entry of the study, a participant’s disease must be progressive. Individuals must have also participated previously in platinum and pemetrexed-based chemotherapy.

Some patient exclusions include:

  • Receiving other investigational agents
  • Participating in chemotherapy or radiotherapy 3 weeks prior to the study
  • Having other forms of cancer in the last 5 years
  • Previous treatment with olaparib
  • Still recovering from a major surgery

All participants in the study must be able to swallow pills, considering olaparib is given orally. Patients must not have any known gastrointestinal disorders that can interfere with the absorption of the medicine.

Lead Investigator

Primary investigator of the study is Dr. Raffit Hassan. He is actively involved in researching pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

As a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Hassan plays an active role in developing treatment plans that include targeted therapy, such as immunotherapy.

Dr. Hassan’s previous research involves targeting mesothelin, and it has shown promising signs of improving mesothelioma treatment. He hopes to see the same outcome with olaparib.

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about this clinical trial and the National Cancer Institute, please contact Mesothelioma Guide. Our patient advocate Jenna Campagna in available to answer your questions. You can reach her at 888-385-2024 extension 102 or by emailing jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.