A research team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center) in the US is set to lead a new clinical trial assessing poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor rucaparib for the treatment of patients with endometrial cancer.

Researchers partnered with pharmaceutical company Clovis Oncology to develop the Phase II study.

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CU Cancer Center will act as the primary trial site, with the University of Pennsylvania and Fox Chase Cancer Center also enrolling patients.

The study intends to assess the effectiveness of rucaparib as maintenance therapy in metastatic or recurrent endometrial cancer patients who have previously received chemotherapy.

Rucaparib holds US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and has been evaluated for the treatment of other cancer types.

CU Cancer Center gynecologic oncology assistant professor Bradley Corr said: “Very basically, rucaparib, a PARP inhibitor, works by stopping cancer cells from repairing their DNA appropriately.

“Cancer cells can hijack the body’s system to repair their own DNA, which allows them to multiply. Without the ability to repair damaged DNA, the cancer cells eventually die.”

PARP inhibitors are commonly used to treat BRCA ovarian cancer patients.

Preclinical studies showed that patients who have a PTEN deficiency may respond to PARP inhibitors, with the PTEN mutation found in more than 80% of endometrial cancer patients.

Corr noted: “I believe that this clinical trial could be the foundation step to practice-changing therapy.

“There are currently no approved maintenance therapies in endometrial cancer, and if this trial demonstrates similar success rate to what we have seen in ovarian cancer, I believe this drug class could become a part of standard care for some patients.”

This Phase II trial is said to be the first to test a PARP inhibitor for endometrial cancer.