Researchers Discover Ovarian Cancer Gene

by Dana Demas

British scientists have made the most significant ovarian cancer discovery in over a decade. Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London identified a gene mutation, called RAD51D. Women with this gene mutation have nearly a 1 in 11 chance of developing ovarian cancer. Women in the general population have a 1 in 70 risk of developing the disease.

A promising new class of cancer drugs, PARP inhibitors, can target cells with the gene mutation – the same drugs are used to treat cancers related to BRCA1 and BRCA2.. PARP inhibitors interfere with DNA repair in cancer cells.

Identifying the gene could help women assess their cancer risk before they develop ovarian cancer, which is usually detected in advanced stages.

Tests to identify women at risk are expected to be available within a few years.

Read more about Ovarian Cancer and how a gynecologic oncologist may improve treatment outcomes.