PARP Inhibitors Increase the risk of pneumonitis

PARP Inhibitors Increase the risk of pneumonitis

PARP inhibitor drugs, now used for breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer, are associated with an increased risk of pneumonitis, most usually a non-infectious inflammation of the lungs.

PARP stands for poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase – it’s an enzyme that helps repair DNA damage in cells. Thus PARP inhibitors work by preventing cancer cells from repairing, resulting in their death.

Pneumonitis is an inflammatory condition of the lungs not usually caused by infection. The disease has been observed in cancer patients taking the drugs and even during clinical trials.

There are four main PARP inhibitors

  • Olaparib (Lynparza)
  • Niraparib (Zejula)
  • Rucaparib (Rubraca)
  • Talazoparib (Talzenna)

The research (1) analysed 5571 patients who had been involved in Clinical Trials separating those who took the PARP inhibitor from the controls.

Those treated with PARPis had a significantly increased risk of pneumonitis when compared with patients in control arms - 0.79% across PARP arms and 0.24% across control arms.

The median time to pneumonitis was 81 days, and 87% of cases occurred within 6 months of treatment initiation. The fatality rate was 16%.

The researchers from Beijing in China, concluded that “Early recognition and management of PARP-pneumonitis is of vital importance in clinical practice.

Go to: BRCA1 and BRCA2 and PARP inhibitors


  1. Ma Z, Sun X, Zhao Z, et al. Risk of pneumonitis in cancer patients treated with PARP inhibitors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and a pharmacovigilance study of the FAERS database. Gynecol Oncol


  Approved by the Medical Board. Click Here 


2021 Research
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