BRCA Testing for Ovarian Cancer Patients Could Be Decided by Family History and Age, Study Suggests

BRCA Testing for Ovarian Cancer Patients Could Be Decided by Family History and Age, Study Suggests

Women with ovarian cancer who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, and are younger than 45 if breast cancer in a near relative makes up that history, are more likely to have inherited BRCA mutations and could benefit from a genetic test to see if they are carriers, a study reports.

Using data covering more than 2,000 patients, researchers built a decision tree to identify those at greater risk of carrying the mutations. They propose the tool could serve as a reasonable and cost-effective way of selecting patients for BRCA testing rather than a widespread screening of all — an issue of considerable debate.

The study, "BRCA germline mutation test for all woman with ovarian cancer?," was published in the journal BMC Cancer.

Specific inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase a person's risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and are also associated with increased risks of several other cancers.

A person's likelihood of ovarian-fallopian cancer ranges from 39% to 63% for carriers of BRCA1, and 16% to 27% for those with 

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