New Study Clarifies BRCA Mutations in Ovarian Cancer, Encourages Testing

06/25/2012

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Australian researchers suggest because BRCA mutation status impacts survival and treatment response, all women with nonmucinous ovarian cancer, regardless of family history, should be offered BRCA1/2 mutation testing.

Researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in East Melbourne, Australia, screened 1,001 women with ovarian cancer to investigate the impact of germ-line BRCA1 and 2 mutations. Germ-line mutations were found in 14.1% of patients overall, including 16.6% of serous cancer patients (high-grade serous, 22.6%); 44% had no reported family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Patients carrying germ-line mutations had improved rates of progression-free and overall survival. In the relapse setting, patients carrying mutations more frequently responded to both platin- and nonplatin-based regimens than mutation-negative patients, even in patients with early relapse after primary treatment.

“Our findings suggest changes in the guidelines for genetic testing of all invasive ovarian cancer patients, indicate that the measurement of BRCA status should be explicitly integrated into future clinical trial designs as a major stratification factor, and declare BRCA status is now ready to be included in the clinical management of women with ovarian cancer,” the authors write.

More information: Abstract

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