Gene Panel Test May Help Predict Ovarian Cancer Prognosis

A  genetic test of homologous recombination genes might help predict outcomes for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a new study suggests. The findings were expected to be presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, held from March 19 to 22 in San Diego.

A genetic test of homologous recombination (HR) genes might help predict outcomes for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a new study suggests. The findings were expected to be presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, held from March 19 to 22 in San Diego.

Barbara Norquist, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues sequenced DNA from blood or tumors or both from 1,195 women using a gene panel test, BROCA-HR. They found that 25.6 percent of the women had a mutation in at least one of a number of genes predicted to affect DNA repair.

For women without mutations, the median progression-free survival was just over a year, while the overall survival was about 3.5 years. Carrying a DNA repair gene mutation seemed to extend survival. For example, for women with mutations in the BRCA1 gene, the outlook was greatly improved. Average progression-free survival was 15.7 months, while their overall survival was 55.3 months. For those withBRCA2 mutations, median progression-free survival was 21.6 months, while overall survival was 75.2 months.

All of the women who carried mutations in DNA repair genes “had significantly better progression-free and overall survival when compared to those with no mutations,” Norquist said in a news release from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. “This underscores the message that women with any type of ovarian cancer should have genetic testing, and they should be included in clinical trials of drugs that work best in the setting of HR defects.”

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