"These findings will help doctors to better counsel women who have an inherited predisposition to ovarian and breast cancers and allow tailoring of risk-reduction strategies depending on what particular mutation a woman has inherited," said the study's lead author Noah D. Kauff, MD, a gynecologist and geneticist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
The study followed 886 women over the age of 30 who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. Of this group, 561 opted to have their ovaries and fallopian tubes surgically removed -- a procedure called risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy -- while 325 chose to participate in ovarian surveillance. The women were followed for 40 months via questionnaire or medical review.
The results showed that overall the prophylactic surgery reduced the incidence of ovarian and related cancers by 89 percent and decreased breast cancer incidence by 47 percent. When broken down further, the results indicate that none of the women carrying the BRCA2 mutation who had the surgery developed ovarian cancer, while women carrying the BRCA1 mutation who had the surgery decreased their risk of developing ovarian or related cancers by 87 percent.
The study showed that women with BRCA2 mutations also reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 72 percent, while those with BRCA1 mutations reduced their risk of breast cancer by 39 percent. Why the results of the procedure differ
Contact: Maria Connizzo
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center