Women with a specific high-grade ovarian cancer who also had BRCA2 mutations had improved overall survival (OS) and response to chemotherapy compared with women who had wild-type BRCA, according to a recent study.1 The researchers investigated the association between BRCA1/2 deficiencies in ovarian cancer and patient OS and progression-free survival (PFS) rates, as well as chemotherapy response. They evaluated multidimensional genomics and clinical data regarding 316 high-grade serous ovarian cancer cases made available between 2009 and 2010 through the Cancer Genome Atlas project.

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Patients with both mutations did not differ significantly from each other with regard to tumor stage, grade, and histologic type, but patients with BRCA1 mutations were younger at the time of diagnosis compared with those with wild-type BRCA or BRCA2 mutations.

The 5-year survival rate for BRCA2 mutation carriers was 61%, which was significantly higher than that of carriers of wild-type BRCA, which was 25%. BRCA2 carriers also had significantly longer PFS than wild-type BRCA carriers. At the same time, 44% of BRCA2 carriers remained progression free 3 years after surgery, compared with 22% of BRCA1 carriers.

BRCA2 mutations also were associated with a significantly higher primary chemotherapy sensitivity rate (100% vs 82% for wild-type BRCA and 80% for BRCA1), as well as a longer platinum-free duration (18 months for BRCA2 vs 11.7 months and 12.5 months, respectively, for BRCA wild-type and BRCA1 mutated cases).


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  • 1
    Yang D, KhanS, Sun Y, et al. Association of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations with survival, chemotherapy sensitivity, and gene mutator phenotype in patients with ovarian cancer. JAMA 2011; 306: 1557-1565.