(Reuters) – A cancer drug from AstraZeneca and Merck helped men with advanced prostate cancer and certain genetic mutations live longer in a late-stage study investigating its effectiveness, the British company said on Friday.

The drug, Lynparza, met the key secondary goal of overall survival in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and BRCA1/2 or ATM gene mutations, compared with hormonal anticancer therapies such as enzalutamide or abiraterone, new data https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2020/lynparza-shows-overall-survival-in-prostate-cancer.html from the study showed.

Last August, AstraZeneca said https://www.reuters.com/article/us-astrazeneca-lynparza-trial/astrazenecas-lynparza-helps-prostate-cancer-patients-live-longer-study-idUSKCN1UX0L1 the study had met its main goal and the latest positive readouts underscore its potential for expanded use.

BRCA and ATM genes help produce proteins that repair damaged DNA, but can cause cancer if they mutate.

“Overall survival in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer has remained extremely challenging to achieve,” said José Baselga, executive VP of Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca.

The treatment leads a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors, which keep cancer cells damaged by chemotherapy from repairing themselves, and is a key asset for AstraZeneca with approvals in ovarian, breast and pancreatic cancers.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, with more than 191,000 new diagnoses expected in the United States in 2020, according to the American Cancer Society.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Sriraj Kalluvila)