What Is Talzenna™(talazoparib)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Talzenna™ (talazoparib) is a drug used to treat adults with metastatic or locally advanced HER2- breast cancer who are positive, or suspected to be positive, for one of the BRCA gene mutations that often lead to breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases in U.S. women.1-3

People with BRCA1 or 2 gene mutations inherit them from their families. The normal function of these genes is to help repair DNA. This is the molecular instruction manual inside every cell in the body. When DNA has mistakes or mutations, the cells that contain these mistakes can become cancerous and multiply without stopping. People without enough protection against mistakes in their DNA are at increased risk of developing cancer. More than 60 percent of women who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers will develop breast cancer at some point during their lifetime.4

Breast cancer tumors can be identified as HER2+ or HER2- cancers. HER2 refers to a protein that appears on the surface of cancer cells and makes the cells multiply faster. When cancer cells produce too many HER2 proteins, they are referred to as HER2+ tumors. HER2- cancers produce few or no HER2 proteins. Locally advanced breast cancer often means the breast tumor is large or the cancer has spread beyond the breast to the chest wall, skin, or lymph nodes, but it has not spread to other parts of the body. Metastatic breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.4

What are the ingredients in Talzenna?

The active ingredient in Talzenna is talazoparib.5,6

How does talazoparib work?

Talazoparib is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. PARP is a molecule that plays an important part in repairing the DNA of cells with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Talazoparib sticks to PARP molecules, which prevents them from working properly. This allows breast cancer cells to accumulate DNA damage, which eventually kills them.5,6

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of talazoparib include:5,6

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Low numbers of red or white blood cells
  • Nausea
  • Low number of platelets
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood sugar
  • Changes in liver function tests
  • Low calcium levels

Talazoparib may also cause serious side effects, including:5,6

  • Bone marrow problems called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Low blood cell counts

These are not all the possible side effects of talazoparib. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with talazoparib.

Other things to know

Your doctor will do blood tests to check your blood cell counts before and during treatment with talazoparib.5,6

Before taking talazoparib, tell your doctor if you have kidney problems.5,6

Talazoparib can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of talazoparib. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with talazoparib and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking talazoparib.5,6

Before beginning treatment for breast cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of talazoparib.

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