SGO and AACR Research Round-Up

With two marquee scientific conferences, the Society for Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), occurring back-to-back, the past few weeks have seen an explosion in ovarian cancer research news. This post rounds-up all that news and puts it in one place for you.

All women with ovarian cancer should consider genetic testing 
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology now recommends that all women with ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer should be referred for genetic counseling and consider genetic testing, regardless of family history or age. Recent research has demonstrated that approximately a fifth of all women with ovarian cancer have a genetic predisposition to disease, even if they lack a family history. Knowing your genetic status may dictate future treatment options and inform family members about their risk of disease.

Irregular periods may double a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer
Women who experience irregular or infrequent menstruation are twice as likely to die from ovarian cancer as women with normal periods, according to a study presented at AACR. The study followed over 14,000 women for nearly 50 years and found women with irregular periods were 2.4 times more likely to die from ovarian cancer.

Two mutations found that reduce risk of developing BRCA related breast and ovarian cancer
While having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation puts women at high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, not all women with the mutation end up developing cancer. Recently, an international group of scientists reported finding two genes that “fine tune” this risk. Specifically, researchers found that if women had both a BRCA mutation and a mutation in one of these genes, her risk of developing cancer decreases.

Genetic screening of endometriosis may one day predict ovarian cancer risk
Endometriosis is a common gynecological malignancy, but a small subset of women with endometriosis go on to develop ovarian cancer. A research team from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Magee-Women’s Research Institute uncovered a genetic profile that may help predict which cases of endometriosis go on to be associated with ovarian cancer. If these results are confirmed by additional studies, they might help doctors determine which women to monitor closely for ovarian cancer.

Identification of biomarkers linked to residual disease in after debulking surgery
Women who had elevated levels of two biomarkers, FABP4 and ADH1B, tended to be at increased risk of having residual disease after debulking surgery, according to a study of 491 women by Dr. Anil Sood. Although more research is necessary, these biomarkers could one day be used to identify women who could benefit from having chemotherapy before their surgery, to lessen their risk of residual diseases following debulking.