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NCI study examines outcomes from surgery to prevent ovarian cancer

, by DCEG Staff

A new study of women at high risk of ovarian cancer but with no clinical signs of the disease, who underwent risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) found cancer in the removed tissues of 2.6 percent (25 of 966) of the participants. RRSO is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s ovaries and fallopian tubes are preventively removed. 

The participants included women known to carry a harmful mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene, as well as women considered at high risk because of a strong family history of the disease. Cancer was detected in tissues from 4.6 percent of the women who carried a BRCA1 mutation, 3.5 percent of those with a BRCA2 mutation and 0.5 percent of women who had a family history but did not carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. The researchers also found that some of these cancers arose in the fallopian tubes, a result that supports emerging evidence that many malignancies classified as ovarian cancer actually arise in the fallopian tubes. This underscores the importance of fallopian tube removal as part of risk-reducing surgery. These cancer risk estimates provide the best available information for high-risk women considering RRSO. Read more in the full NCI News Note.

Reference: Sherman ME, Piedmonte M, Mai PL, et al. Pathologic findings at risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy: primary results from Gynecologic Oncology Group Trial GOG-0199. J Clin Oncol 2014 Oct 10;32:3275-3283. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.54.1987. E-pub 2014 Sep 8.

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