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Lynparza, a cancer-fighting pill marketed by AstraZeneca and Merck, reduced the risk that breast cancer would return in an invasive form when it was given for a year to patients who carried cancer-causing variants of the BRCA gene.

The companies had reported that the study stopped early in February, but the actual results, released on Thursday, are striking, and several experts said they were likely to change treatment for people with aggressive breast cancer caused by genes they have inherited. The full results are being presented this weekend at the annual virtual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. They are also being published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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