LYNPARZA® (olaparib) Approved in Japan for BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer


July 2, 2018 12:00 am ET

LYNPARZA is the First and Only PARP Inhibitor Approved for Use Beyond Ovarian Cancer

Second Approval in Japan for AstraZeneca and Merck’s LYNPARZA

AstraZeneca and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States
and Canada, today announced that Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical
Devices Agency (PMDA) has approved LYNPARZA® (olaparib)
tablets for use in patients with unresectable or recurrent BRCA-mutated
(BRCAm), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative
breast cancer who have received prior chemotherapy. Patients are
selected for therapy based on an approved companion diagnostic.

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, head of the oncology
business unit at AstraZeneca, said, “Earlier this year, LYNPARZA became
the first PARP inhibitor available in Japan for advanced ovarian cancer.
Now patients in Japan with BRCA-mutated, metastatic breast cancer
will also have the opportunity to benefit from LYNPARZA. This latest
approval underlines our ongoing efforts to make LYNPARZA available
across multiple cancers as quickly as possible to patients around the

Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical
development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories, said,
“Metastatic breast cancer is a complex disease with remaining unmet
medical need. This approval is significant for breast cancer patients as
the evaluation of BRCA mutations, in addition to hormone receptor
and HER2 status, now becomes an important step in the management of the

The approval is based on data from the randomized, open-label, Phase
3 OlympiAD trial
, which tested LYNPARZA versus chemotherapy.
Patients were selected for therapy based upon a confirmed BRCA
mutation. In the trial, LYNPARZA significantly prolonged
progression-free survival (PFS) compared with chemotherapy, reducing the
risk of disease progression or death by 42 percent (HR=0.58 [95% CI,
0.43-0.80]; p=0.0009). Median PFS was 7.0 months with LYNPARZA versus
4.2 months with chemotherapy.

LYNPARZA was generally well tolerated, with the majority of adverse
events (AEs) reported as mild to moderate with a lower rate of Grade ≥3
AEs compared with chemotherapy (36.6% vs 50.5%). The most common AEs
were nausea (50.2%), anemia (32.2%) and fatigue (22.4%).

LYNPARZA is also approved in Japan as maintenance treatment for women
with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer, regardless of BRCA
mutation status. In Japan, the co-promotion of LYNPARZA by both
companies began on July 1, 2018.

Important Safety Information


There are no contraindications for LYNPARZA.

Warnings and Precautions

Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML): Occurred
in <1.5% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and the majority
of events had a fatal outcome. The duration of therapy in patients who
developed secondary MDS/AML varied from <6 months to >2 years. All of
these patients had previous chemotherapy with platinum agents and/or
other DNA-damaging agents, including radiotherapy, and some also had a
history of more than one primary malignancy or of bone marrow dysplasia.

Do not start LYNPARZA until patients have recovered from hematological
toxicity caused by previous chemotherapy (≤Grade 1). Monitor complete
blood count for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter for
clinically significant changes during treatment. For prolonged
hematological toxicities, interrupt LYNPARZA and monitor blood count
weekly until recovery.

If the levels have not recovered to Grade 1 or less after 4 weeks, refer
the patient to a hematologist for further investigations, including bone
marrow analysis and blood sample for cytogenetics. Discontinue LYNPARZA
if MDS/AML is confirmed.

Pneumonitis: Occurred in <1% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA, and
some cases were fatal. If patients present with new or worsening
respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, and fever, or a
radiological abnormality occurs, interrupt LYNPARZA treatment and
initiate prompt investigation. Discontinue LYNPARZA if pneumonitis is
confirmed and treat patient appropriately.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on its mechanism of action and
findings in animals,

LYNPARZA can cause fetal harm. A pregnancy test is recommended for
females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment.


Advise females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a
fetus and to use effective contraception during treatment and for 6
months following the last dose.


Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or
who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment and for
3 months following the last dose of LYNPARZA and to not donate sperm
during this time.

Adverse Reactions—Maintenance Setting

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in
clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting for SOLO-2:
nausea (76%), fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), anemia (44%), vomiting
(37%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)/influenza
(36%), diarrhea (33%), arthralgia/myalgia (30%), dysgeusia (27%),
headache (26%), decreased appetite (22%), and stomatitis (20%).

Study 19: nausea (71%), fatigue (including asthenia) (63%),
vomiting (35%), diarrhea (28%), anemia (23%), respiratory tract
infection (22%), constipation (22%), headache (21%), and decreased
appetite (21%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in
clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting (SOLO-2/Study
) were: increase in mean corpuscular volume (89%/82%), decrease in
hemoglobin (83%/82%), decrease in leukocytes (69%/58%), decrease in
lymphocytes (67%/52%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%/47%),
increase in serum creatinine (44%/45%), and decrease in platelets

Adverse Reactions—Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in
clinical trials of

LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer after 3 or more
lines of chemotherapy
(pooled from 6 studies) were: fatigue
(including asthenia) (66%), nausea (64%), vomiting (43%), anemia (34%),
diarrhea (31%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)
(26%), dyspepsia (25%), myalgia (22%), decreased appetite (22%), and
arthralgia/musculoskeletal pain (21%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in
clinical trials of LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer (pooled
from 6 studies) were: decrease in hemoglobin (90%), increase in mean
corpuscular volume (57%), decrease in lymphocytes (56%), increase in
serum creatinine (30%), decrease in platelets (30%), and decrease in
absolute neutrophil count (25%).

Adverse Reactions—gBRCAm, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in OlympiAD
were: nausea (58%), anemia (40%), fatigue (including asthenia) (37%),
vomiting (30%), neutropenia (27%), respiratory tract infection (27%),
leukopenia (25%), diarrhea (21%), and headache (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in OlympiAD
were: decrease in hemoglobin (82%), decrease in lymphocytes (73%),
decrease in leukocytes (71%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%),
decrease in absolute neutrophil count (46%), and decrease in platelets

Drug Interactions

Anticancer Agents: Clinical studies of LYNPARZA in combination
with other myelosuppressive anticancer agents, including DNA-damaging
agents, indicate a potentiation and prolongation of myelosuppressive

CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate
CYP3A inhibitors. If a strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be
co-administered, reduce the dose of LYNPARZA. Advise patients to avoid
grapefruit, grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice
during LYNPARZA treatment.

CYP3A Inducers: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate CYP3A
inducers when using LYNPARZA. If a moderate inducer cannot be avoided,
there is a potential for decreased efficacy of LYNPARZA.

Use In Specific Populations

Lactation: No data are available regarding the presence of
olaparib in human milk, its effects on the breastfed infant or on milk
production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in
the breastfed infant, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during
treatment with LYNPARZA and for 1 month after receiving the final dose.

Pediatric Use: The safety and efficacy of LYNPARZA have not been
established in pediatric patients.

Hepatic Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is
required in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh
classification A). There are no data in patients with moderate or severe
hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is necessary
in patients with mild renal impairment (CLcr=51-80 mL/min). In patients
with moderate renal impairment (CLcr=31-50 mL/min), reduce the dose to
200 mg twice daily. There are no data in patients with severe renal
impairment or end-stage renal disease (CLcr ≤30 mL/min).


LYNPARZA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated:

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent
epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer, who
are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected
deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) advanced
ovarian cancer who have been treated with 3 or more prior lines of
chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved
companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

In patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human
epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast
cancer who have previously been treated with chemotherapy in the
neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone
receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a
prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine
treatment. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved
companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Please see complete


, including Patient Information (Medication Guide).

About OlympiAD

OlympiAD was a randomized, open-label, multi-center Phase 3 trial
assessing the efficacy and safety of LYNPARZA tablets (300 mg twice
daily) compared to physician’s choice of chemotherapy (capecitabine,
eribulin, or vinorelbine) in 302 patients with human epidermal growth
factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer with germline BRCA1
(gBRCA1) or BRCA2 (gBRCA2) mutations, which
are confirmed or suspected to be deleterious. The international trial
was conducted in 19 countries across Europe, Asia, North America and
South America.

Patients in the OlympiAD trial had HER2-negative gBRCA1- or gBRCA2-mutated
breast cancer, which was hormone receptor positive (HR+) or triple
negative, and received LYNPARZA for metastatic disease. Approximately
half of the patients in the LYNPARZA and chemotherapy arm of the trial
were HR+ (n=152) and approximately half were triple negative (n=150).
Among the 205 patients treated with LYNPARZA, the median age was 44
years (range, 22 to 76). Before enrollment, patients had prior treatment
with an anthracycline (unless contraindicated) and a taxane chemotherapy
either in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting, and no more
than two prior lines of chemotherapy for metastatic disease. HR+
patients had received at least one endocrine medicine or were not
eligible for endocrine medicines. Prior treatments with endocrine
medicines were not counted as prior lines of chemotherapy.

The primary endpoint of the trial was progression-free survival (PFS) as
measured by a Blinded Independent Central Review. Secondary endpoints
included overall survival (OS), time to second progression or death
(PFS2), objective response rate (ORR) and effect on health-related
quality of life.

About BRCA Mutations

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce proteins
responsible for repairing damaged DNA and play an important role in
maintaining the genetic stability of cells. When either of these genes
is mutated, or altered, such that its protein product either is not made
or does not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired properly
and cells become unstable. As a result, cells are more likely to develop
additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

About Breast Cancer in Japan

In Japan, breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among women.
In Japanese women, breast cancer incidence peaks in the late forties,
whereas in the U.S. and Europe, the peak incidence is in women over 60
years of age. Despite more treatment options becoming available during
the past three decades, there is currently no cure for patients
diagnosed with metastatic (Stage 4) breast cancer. In Japan, five- and
10-year relative survival rates for patients with Stage 4 breast cancer
are as low as 32.6 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively. Therefore,
the primary aim of treatment is to slow progression of the disease for
as long as possible and improve or maintain a patient’s quality of life.



(olaparib) 100 mg tablets

LYNPARZA is the first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first
targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR)
pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially
kill cancer cells. Specifically, in vitro studies have shown that
LYNPARZA-induced cytotoxicity may involve inhibition of PARP enzymatic
activity and increased formation of PARP-DNA complexes, resulting in DNA
damage and cancer cell death. LYNPARZA is being tested in a range of
DDR-deficient tumor types.

LYNPARZA, which is being jointly developed and commercialized by
AstraZeneca and Merck, is approved for advanced ovarian cancer and
metastatic breast cancer and has been used in over 20,000 patients
worldwide. LYNPARZA has a broad and advanced clinical trial
development program and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to
deliver it as quickly as possible to more patients across multiple
cancer types.

About the AstraZeneca and Merck Strategic Oncology Collaboration

In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck, known as MSD outside the United
States and Canada, announced a global strategic oncology collaboration
to co-develop and co-commercialize LYNPARZA, the world’s first PARP
inhibitor, and potential new medicine selumetinib, a MEK inhibitor, for
multiple cancer types. Working together, the companies will develop
LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with other potential new
medicines and as monotherapies. Independently, the companies will
develop LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with their respective
PD-L1 and PD-1 medicines.

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology
medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential
to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and
supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment.

As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the
potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development
programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also
continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and
are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology
candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced

For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we
work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to
increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
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