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Current understanding of the epidemiology and clinical implications of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations for ovarian cancer

Narod, Steven A.a; Boyd, Jeffb

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: February 2002 - Volume 14 - Issue 1 - p 19-26
Gynecologic oncology and pathology

Genetic testing for susceptibility to ovarian cancer is rapidly becoming integrated into the clinical practice of oncology. Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is now recommended to most women with invasive ovarian cancer. Approximately 10% of these women will have a positive test, including 4% of women without a family history of cancer. Currently, the treatment of hereditary ovarian cancer is the same as for non-hereditary ovarian cancer. It appears that women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA mutation experience better survival than women without a mutation, possibly due to enhanced susceptibility to chemotherapy. Strategies for prevention of ovarian cancer among carriers include oral contraceptives, tubal ligation and prophylactic oophorectomy.

aThe Centre for Research on Women's Health, Women's College Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada and bDepartments of Surgery and Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA

Correspondence to Dr. Steven Narod, Centre for Research on Women's Health, Women's College Hospital, 790 Bay Street, Room 750a, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1N8 Tel: +1 416 351 3675; fax: +1 416 351 3767; e-mail:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.