Hereditary ovarian cancer: recent molecular insights and their impact on screening strategies.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review will focus on the implications of BRCA status in the patient with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, the differences between BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, and the most effective risk-reducing strategies. RECENT FINDINGS: Women with BRCA-associated epithelial ovarian cancer represent a unique group who commonly are diagnosed at a younger age, have advanced high-grade serous disease, have improved sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapy in both the upfront and recurrent setting, and have an overall improved prognosis. Promising novel therapeutic agents such as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors have increased activity in patients with inherited BRCA mutations and may also have a role in patients with noninherited tumors that have decreased BRCA activity. Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) is effective in decreasing risks of both breast and gynecologic cancer in women with BRCA mutations. However, when counseling women at inherited risk, the inherent phenotypical differences between BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations must be considered. SUMMARY: Patients with BRCA-associated epithelial ovarian cancer have improved response to platinum-based chemotherapy, improved survival, and may be appropriate candidates for treatment with novel targeted therapies. RRSO remains the most effective risk-reduction strategy in women with BRCA mutations.
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