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Advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients with BRCA live longer, may respond better to treatment
Date:3/10/2008

Tampa, Fla. - Two abstracts underscoring the importance of testing for BRCA1/2 mutations in women with ovarian cancer were presented at this week's Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 39th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancers, by researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

In the first study, a multicenter research team led by M.D. Anderson found advanced- stage ovarian cancer patients with non-Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA (non-AJ BRCA) mutations experience longer progression-free and overall survival rates compared to those with sporadic ovarian cancer. The data confirms previous research which reported that among ovarian cancer patients of Ashkenazi-Jewish heritage, BRCA1/2 mutations (AJ BRCA) are associated improved long-term survival.

For this study, researchers examined 85 advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients with non-AJ BRCA mutations and 116 patients who did not express any type of BRCA mutation. Compared to patients without BRCA mutations, non-AJ BRCA carriers had longer progression-free survival of 19.0 vs. 27.8 months and improved overall survival of 65.6 vs. 101.4 months. Non-AJ BRCA patients had a 2.15 times greater odds of complete response to initial chemotherapy response over sporadic, non-carrier patients.

Karen Lu, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at M. D. Anderson and senior author on the study said the difference in survival rates indicate that individuals with BRCA mutations might respond better to standard chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. "Thus, it becomes increasingly valuable to know a patient's BRCA status to guide and personalize treatment decisions," Lu said.

Majority of Patients Unaware BRCA Testing Available

A second study conducted at M. D. Anderson concluded that, despite being available for more than 10 years, a majority of women with ovarian cancer were unaware genetic counseling and testing for BRCA1/2 mutations was
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Contact: Robyn Stein
robyn.stein@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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