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Gene Mutations May Boost Ovarian Cancer Survival: Study
Date:1/25/2012

h factors as the stage of the cancer and age, although it was less significant among women with a family history of ovarian and/or breast cancer.

Exactly how the mutations may improve survival is not known. However, Bolton and others speculate the BRCA1 or BRCA2 status may modify the response to platinum-based chemotherapy, a common treatment.

The new analysis will have important implications for future research and treatment of ovarian cancer, the authors said. Routine genetic screening of women with high-grade cancer might be warranted, they added.

Dr. Elizabeth Poynor, a gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, suggested the findings can help health care providers tailor treatment and more accurately counsel them regarding expected survival.

While not new, the information is valuable, Poynor said. "For a long time, we've known that individuals with BRCA1 or 2 actually have a better prognosis," she said. "This is not new information, it's expanded information. It's reinforcing what we already know."

More research is needed, the authors said, acknowledging some study limitations. For instance, the analysis lacked complete information on types of chemotherapy used, which might also have influenced survival.

Some co-authors reported consultancy fees from Complete Genomics Inc., a company engaged in gene sequencing, and from Merck Sharp & Dohme, Roche, Schering-Plough, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical firms.

More information

Learn how ovarian cancer is diagnosed at the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Kelly L. Bolton, Ph.D., medical student, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Elizabeth Poynor, M.D., gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Jan. 25, 2012,
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