NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Among women with invasive ovarian cancer, the presence of BRCA germline mutations is associated with improved survival, according to a report published in the January 15th issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Angela Chetrit, from the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in RamatGan, Israel, and colleagues analyzed blood or tumor specimens from 896 women with ovarian cancer for the presence of BRCA mutations.
More than one quarter of the women were carriers of one or more BRCA mutations. As expected, women with low malignant potential (LMP) tumors survived longer than women with invasive ovarian cancer. Furthermore, BRCA mutations were less often found in women with LMP tumors.
Among women with invasive cancer, mutation carriers had a 3-year survival rate of 65.8% compared with a rate of only 51.9% for noncarriers, the authors note. Carriers experienced a median survival of 53.4 months compared with only 37.8 months for noncarriers. The differences in survival were independent of age at diagnosis and disease stage, the researchers state.
"Our findings, which are based on nationwide data, underline the relatively superior survival of BRCA carriers," the investigators note. Further follow-up is needed to determine whether this beneficial effect persists beyond the early disease period, they add.