New call for participants for an international Breast Cancer Clinical Trial for men and women with a BRCA gene mutation

Australian men and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 12 months, and who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, are invited to participate in an international clinical trial aimed at testing the efficacy of a drug that could reduce the risk of their disease reoccurring.

Coordinated by the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG), the ‘OlympiA’ clinical trial is investigating whether taking the drug Olaparib twice a day for 12 months can reduce the risk of breast cancer returning.   

OlympiA trial is open to both men and women diagnosed with HER-2 negative breast cancer who also have an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene abnormality.  

As part of OlympiA, people with HER-2 negative breast cancer will receive genetic testing to see if they have an abnormality in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This will not only determine whether they might be eligible to join the trial, but will also empower them with more knowledge about their cancer helping to inform their future treatment even if they don’t join the trial.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s Professor and Australian Study Chair for the OlympiA clinical trial, Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips, says this trial is great news for Australian patients who will have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking international cancer research.

“The OlympiA trial is testing a medication that reduces a cancer cell’s ability to repair itself after damage, making it more likely that the cancer cell will die,” explains Professor Phillips, who is also a member of the ANZBCTG Scientific Advisory Committee.

“We already know from previous studies that olaparib can shrink breast cancers in mutation carriers with more advanced, incurable cancers. This study is specifically testing whether it can increase the chance of cure in the setting of earlier, potentially curable tumors,” Professor Phillips says.

“If successful, this trial has the potential to make available an additional treatment option for this type and stage of breast cancers.”

The OlympiA clinical trial will enrol 1,500 participants from 23 countries, including 15 locations in Australia. It is being conducted in partnership with the Breast International Group) and AstraZeneca.

Women and men with HER-2 negative breast cancer diagnosed in the past year and who are interested in participating in the OlympiA clinical trial should speak to their cancer specialist.

More information about the study is available at or the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry at

About breast cancer

Approximately 80 percent of all breast cancers are HER-2 negative, with around 5 percent of these breast cancers also involving inherited abnormalities in the breast cancer genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2. While many patients diagnosed with HER-2 negative breast cancer are successfully treated with currently available treatments (which can include breast surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy), in some cases the breast cancer will recur and new treatment options are needed.

About the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group

The clinical trial is being coordinated in Australia by the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG). The ANZBCTG is the largest, independent, oncology clinical trials research group in Australia and New Zealand. For almost 40 years, the ANZBCTG has conducted a national clinical trials research program for the treatment, prevention and cure of breast cancer.