Oops, you're using an old version of your browser so some of the features on this page may not be displaying properly.

MINIMAL Requirements: Google Chrome 24+Mozilla Firefox 20+Internet Explorer 11Opera 15–18Apple Safari 7SeaMonkey 2.15-2.23

ESMO E-Learning: PARP Inhibitors: Past, Present and Future

New E-Learning module by Prof Yap and Dr Coleman is now available. Watch the presentation and take the CME test today!

Background image on hero resources block

Access to this content is restricted

Login with your ESMO Account

Learning objectives

  1. To understand the concept of synthetic lethality and clinical relevance of homologous recombination deficiency testing    
  2. To learn key data from the clinical trials with PARP inhibitors in the management of ovarian, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer
  3. To learn about extending benefit from PARP inhibition beyond cancers with BRCA1/2 mutations and other clinical developments


In this E-Learning module, the authors provide an essential background on poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase (PARP) protein family, in particular PARP-1 and PARP-2 which participate in DNA single strand break repair and are key enzymes in the base excision repair mechanism.

The authors compare different PARP inhibitors in terms of relative PARP-trapping capacity, single agent dose, side effects, clinical benefit and status of regulatory approvals.  

They detail about the concept of synthetic lethality, homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) test development approach, methods used to determine sensitivity to PARP inhibitors, and provide an overview of diagnostic tests in clinical trials.  

In the next sections, the authors discuss the data from pivotal clinical trials with PARP inhibitors in the management of ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic cancers by coupling the clinical data with information on HRD testing status. Subsequently, they elaborate emerging area on extending the clinical benefit beyond BRCA1/2 mutated cancers.

The authors state that not all patients will respond, and that drug resistance is nearly inevitable. Therefore, it is needed to build on PARP inhibitor monotherapy efficacy. There are clear opportunities in different tumours and molecular subtypes beyond current monotherapy-approved indications.

The authors emphasise that concurrent chemotherapy combinations are challenging. Rational combinations will widen the breadth of application of PARP inhibitors. However, combination efficacy needs to be balanced against synergistic toxicities.

This E-Learning module is an excellent educational opportunity to comprehend the successful story of clinical development of PARP inhibitors, their application in the oncology practice and to learn about evolving strategies in terms of therapeutic targeting, thus moving the field of PARP inhibition forward.

Declaration of interest

Timothy Yap has reported:
Financial Interests (other, personal, consultant) with: Aduro, Almac, AstraZeneca, Atrin, Axiom, Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Clovis, Cybrexa, EMD Serono, Guidepoint, I-Mab, Ignyta, Jansen, Merck, Pfizer, Repare, Roche, Rubius, Schrodinger, Seattle Genetics, Varian, Zai Labs.
Research Grant, Institutional, No financial interest: Bayer, Cyteir, EMD Serono, GlaxoSmithKline, Karyopharm, Pfizer, Repare, Sanofi.

Niamh Coleman has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Last update: 01 Sep 2021

This E-learning module was published in 2021. The CME test expired in 2023.

This site uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

Customise settings
  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and you can only disable them by changing your browser preferences.