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Ovarian Cancer Prognosis Varies by BRCA1/2 Status

Survival is better among BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation carriers

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Unlike the worse prognosis conferred by BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations in breast cancer, women of Ashkenazi descent who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and develop ovarian cancer have improved survival over non-carriers, researchers report in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Angela Chetrit, of Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Hashomer, Israel, and colleagues studied data from 779 Jewish women with epithelial invasive ovarian cancer to investigate the association between BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation status and prognosis.

Of the 605 women of Ashkenazi origin, 213 (35.2 percent) carried a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation. The five-year survival rate of the entire group was 39 percent. BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers survived longer than non-carriers (mean 53.7 versus 37.9 months, respectively), and the survival benefit was pronounced among women diagnosed at higher stages of disease and those with poor grade tumor. Overall, carriage of BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations decreased the mortality rate by 28 percent over that of non-carriers.

"This study confirms that, among Ashkenazi ovarian cancer patients, BRCA1/2 mutations are associated with improved long-term survival. This may be due to distinct clinical behavior and/or to a better response to chemotherapy," the authors conclude.

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