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Women with certain type of ovarian cancer and BRCA gene mutation have improved survival at 5 years
Date:1/24/2012

CHICAGO Among women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, patients having a germline (gene change in a reproductive cell that could be passed to offspring) mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes was associated with improved 5-year overall survival, with BRCA2 carriers having the best prognosis, according to a study in the January 25 issue of JAMA.

"Germline mutations in the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the strongest known genetic risk factors for both breast and epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and are found in 6 percent to 15 percent of women with EOC," according to background information in the article. "The relative prognosis of BRCA1/2 carriers and noncarriers is unclear."

Kelly L. Bolton, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a study to provide evidence of the relative effect of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations on prognosis for women with epithelial ovarian cancer. The study consisted of a pooled analysis of 26 observational studies on the survival of women with ovarian cancer, which included data from 1,213 EOC cases with pathogenic germline mutations in BRCA1 (n = 909) or BRCA2 (n = 304) and from 2,666 noncarriers recruited and followed up at variable times between 1987 and 2010. During the 5 years following EOC diagnosis, 1,766 deaths occurred.

The researchers found that 5-year overall survival was 36 percent for noncarriers of the gene mutations, 44 percent for BRCA1 carriers, and 52 percent for BRCA2 carriers. In a model only adjusted for study site and year of diagnosis, 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 survival advantage for BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers compared with noncarriers was pr
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