Gene Mutations in Ovarian Cancer Studied

Scientists say hereditary, sporadic cases may have common molecular mechanisms

Written by HealthDay News

Updated on July 02, 2002

TUESDAY, July 2, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientists say some molecular mechanisms may be common to hereditary and sporadic ovarian cancers.

In a study in tomorrow's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers looked at mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are tumor suppressor genes whose role in the functioning of cells includes repairing damaged DNA.

The scientists say they found that BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations cause hereditary ovarian cancers through different pathways. However, they say those pathways may be similar to pathways at work in sporadic ovarian cancers.

Sporadic ovarian cancers are cases in which patients don't have a strong family history of that cancer.

The NCI scientists compared gene expression patterns of tumors from 61 people with ovarian cancer -- 18 with the BRCA1 mutation, 16 with the BRCA2 mutation, and 27 with sporadic ovarian cancer.

They analyzed about 6,500 genes and found 110 that were different between BRCA1 and BRCA2-associated ovarian tumors. However, they also found the gene expressions that separated BRCA1 and BRCA2-associated tumors were identified in two major groups of sporadic cancers.

More information

For more information on ovarian cancer and the more than 100 tumor types it encompasses, visit Johns Hopkins University.

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