, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 113-119
Date: 08 Dec 2006

Improved survival in BRCA2 carriers with ovarian cancer

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The objective of this study was to investigate survival of ovarian cancer patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations compared to those without mutations in a population-based sample of incident epithelial ovarian cancer cases.


Follow-up for vital status was performed on a population-based sample of 232 women with incident epithelial ovarian cancer recruited between December 13, 2000 and September 30, 2003 in the Tampa Bay area. Survival analysis using Cox regression was performed on (1) all 232 cases and (2) the 209 invasive epithelial ovarian cancer cases. Results of the two analyses were similar, thus data involving the 209 invasive epithelial cancer cases are presented, as this was judged to be more clinically relevant.


In the multivariate analysis, BRCA status and stage were statistically significant, and were adjusted for in the survival analysis model. The Kaplan–Meier method estimated expected survival at 4 years of 83% of BRCA2 carriers compared to 37% of BRCA1 carriers and 12% of non-carriers. There was a statistically significant difference between BRCA2 carriers and non-carriers (p = 0.013). No statistically significant survival differences were seen for BRCA1 carriers when compared with either BRCA2 carriers or non-carriers.


These data suggest that BRCA2 mutation carriers with ovarian cancer may have better survival than BRCA1 carriers and non-carriers. The etiology of this possible survival advantage is currently unknown. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results and to clarify their etiology and clinical significance.