Study Finds BRCA Mutation Boosts Ovarian Cancer Survival



A large, multicenter study shows that women with ovarian cancer who have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have better survival rates than women who do not have such mutations. The study is also the first to provide strong evidence that ovarian cancer prognosis is better for women with BRCA2 mutations than women with BRCA1 mutations. The results were published online on Jan. 24, 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kelly Bolton of the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland and colleagues found that five-year overall survival was 36 percent for noncarriers of the gene mutations.  That compared to a 44 percent survival rate for mutations in the BRCA1 gene, and 52 percent in the BRCA2 gene, the research showed.

“BRCA1 carriers had a more favorable survival than noncarriers, which improved slightly after additional adjustment for stage, grade, histology, and age at diagnosis. BRCA2 carriers had a greater survival advantage compared with noncarriers, particularly after adjusting for other prognostic factors,” the study found.

The study carried out a pooled analysis of 26 observational studies on ovarian cancer survival rates.

“Our study results have potentially important implications for the clinical management of patients with EOC. Most immediately, our findings can be used by health care professionals for patient counseling regarding expected survival,” the authors said.

Preliminary results from this study were first presented at the April 2011 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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