"He went through six operations and was placed on a clinical trial so he could try new treatments.”
A trial looking at olaparib with temozolomide for glioblastoma that has come back (OPARATIC)
We know that this is an especially worrying time for people with cancer and their family and friends. We have separate information about coronavirus and cancer. Please read that information alongside this page. We will update that information as guidance changes.
This trial looked at olaparib for a type of brain tumour called a glioblastoma that had started to grow again after treatment. It was supported by Cancer Research UK.
More about this trial
In this trial, they looked at a drug called olaparib (AZD2281 or Lynparza) in combination with temozolomide. Olaparib is a type of targeted cancer drug called a PARP inhibitor. PARP is an enzyme that helps damaged cells to repair themselves. If PARP is blocked, cancer cells may not be able to repair themselves after chemotherapy.
The research team had already done part 1 of this trial, which showed that olaparib could cross the blood brain barrier. This is a natural filter between the blood and the brain, which protects the brain from harmful substances. Only some drugs can cross the blood brain barrier.
The results below are for part 2 of the trial. The aims of this part were to:
- find the best dose of olaparib to have with temozolomide for glioblastoma that has come back
- learn more about the side effects of taking these 2 drugs together
Summary of results
This trial was a dose escalation study. This means that the first few people who took part had the lowest dose of olaparib. The next few people had a higher dose. The research team had planned to increase the dose further, but found that it caused too many side effects.
They also found that having olaparib every day caused too many side effects. This meant they had to either delay or reduce the next dose people had. So they changed the schedule to have it for 5 days out of every 7. And then changed it again to have it for 3 days out of every 7.
About 8 out of 10 people (80%) who took part had at least 1 side effect. Some were mild or didn’t last long, but some were more serious.
The most common side effects were:
- feeling sick
- a drop in cells that help the blood to clot (platelets)
- a drop in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
The research team were able to look at how well the treatment worked in 32 of the people who took part. They found that the glioblastoma had:
- got smaller in 1 person
- stayed the same in 17 people
- continued to grow in 14 people
For 14 of the people who took part, it was 6 months or longer before their brain tumour started to grow again. This is similar to results of other trials for people in this situation.
The research team concluded that olaparib could be a useful treatment for glioblastoma because it can cross the blood brain barrier. And that intermittent olaparib with temozolomide didn’t cause too many side effects in this group of patients. The combination of olaparib and temozolomide is now being looked at alongside radiotherapy, in a trial called Paradigm 2.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Anthony Chalmers
Cancer Research UK (Centre for Drug Development)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKD/11/006.