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Talazoparib (Talzenna) is a targeted therapy for metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative, or triple-negative, in people with an inherited BRCA gene mutation. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that spread to distant parts of the body, like the lungs, liver, bones, or brain. When a breast cancer is locally advanced, it has grown to large size in the breast or has spread from where it started in the breast to nearby tissue or lymph nodes, but not to distant parts of the body.

Talazoparib is the second PARP inhibitor approved to treat breast cancer. The first, olaparib (Lynparza), was approved for breast cancer in 2018.

How talazoparib works

Talazoparib is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, or PARP, inhibitor. PARP inhibitors stop the PARP enzyme from repairing cancer cell DNA. This causes cells with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations to die.

In a clinical trial, participants who took talazoparib went about 3 months longer without their cancer growing or spreading than participants who got their doctor’s choice of chemotherapy.

Who gets talazoparib

Talazoparib is approved for people who test positive for an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and who have hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, or triple-negative, metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer. It is not given as the first treatment for metastatic breast cancer – you will have had other treatments first. To learn more, talk to your doctor.

To find out if you have an inherited BRCA mutation, you’ll need genetic testing. You can speak with a genetic counselor to receive this testing and to talk about what your results mean.

How talazoparib is given

Talazoparib is a pill. It must be taken once a day, with or without food.

Side effects and things to remember

Talazoparib’s most common side effects are

Rarely, talazoparib and other PARP inhibitors may cause serious blood diseases. Your doctor will monitor you throughout treatment to watch for these diseases.

Certain medicines and dietary supplements can change how well talazoparib works against the cancer. Talk to your doctor before taking any other medicines or supplements, and let them know if you already take any before starting talazoparib. A list of all the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you use is helpful so you can discuss them with your care team.

Before starting treatment, tell your doctor if you

  • have kidney problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding

Talazoparib is harmful to a fetus and may cause miscarriage, so you should not become pregnant during treatment or take the medicine if you are already pregnant. If you are able to become pregnant, you should use reliable birth control during all cancer treatment.

You should not breastfeed while taking talazoparib because experts don’t know if it will harm your baby. Doctors recommend waiting one month after your last dose of talazoparib before you start breastfeeding. Remember, though, that many other cancer treatments may impact breastfeeding. Always ask your doctor if it’s safe to breastfeed when you switch to a new medicine.

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Reviewed and updated: June 19, 2019

Reviewed by: Daniel P. Silver MD, PhD

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Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.

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