Researcher in lab
Thursday, December 9, 2021

New research published this week in the journal Nature Communications has suggested that osteosarcomas could be targeted with drugs already used to treat ovarian cancer.

Problems in a gene called RB1 are a common cause of many cancers. About half of osteosarcoma patients have this RB1 mutation, which is often linked with the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

The research team behind the new study, based at University College London, tested osteosarcoma cells in the laboratory with a group of drugs called PARP inhibitors, which work by killing cancer cells. They found that PARP inhibitors were effective at killing the cells with an RB1 mutation.

'Our findings raise the exciting prospect of a novel, next-generation therapy for a cancer where no progress has been made for more than 30 years', says Professor Sibylle Mittnacht, lead author of the study.

PARP inhibitors are already used to treat a range of cancers, such as ovarian and breast cancer, but they will need to be tested in a clinical trial to confirm they offer an effective treatment for osteosarcoma patients.

'Osteosarcoma mostly affects teenagers and young people, and there has been little progress in new treatments,' says Dr Sorrel Bickley, Director of Research, Policy and Support at Sarcoma UK. 'We’re pleased to see these results and this exciting step forward for osteosarcoma patients.'

Zoumpoulidou et al., Therapeutic vulnerability to PARP1,2 inhibition in RB1-mutant osteosarcoma. Nature Communications 2021

Nature Communications