The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Rubraca (rucaparib) for certain forms of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). This means, a person’s cancer has spread to other parts of their body and has not responded to surgery or drugs that lower testosterone. Rucaparib was granted accelerated approval by the US FDA. This happens when results from clinical trials are promising, and the FDA allows a drug to be available sooner than usual, with ongoing studies to confirm the benefit of the medication.
Specifically, rucaparib is for adults with a specific mutation in their cancer cells called the BRCA mutation. Your doctor will likely run a genetic test to determine if your cancer falls into this category. In addition to the BRCA mutation, people taking rucaparib must also have previously been treated with therapy aimed at androgen receptors and a type of chemotherapy called a taxane. Rucaparib is also used for certain cases of ovarian cancer.
How does rucaparib work?
PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitors block a protein that is involved in repairing and making DNA in cells. By interfering with this protein, PARP inhibitors may cause enough damage to certain cells that they eventually die. Cancer cells, including prostate cancer cells that have the BRCA gene mutation, may respond to these PARP inhibitors. By causing the death of these cells, it may be possible to slow the growth of tumors or their spread. Rucaparib is the first drug of its kind approved for prostate cancer.