Ovarian Cancer
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Ovarian Cancer

Cancer of the ovaries are the second most common group of gynaecologic cancers, and account for about 5% of all women's cancers. There are two main types; (i) epithelial tumours (carcinomas) which account for 90% of ovarian cancers, and (ii) non-epithelial tumours (eg. Stroma cell and germ cell tumours of the ovary). The epithelial ovarian cancers are usually found in women aged over 40, while the non-epithelial tumours are more common in girls and young women. Epithelial ovarian cancer has few early symptoms, a risk factor is having a family history of the disease. Taking the contraceptive pill is known to be protective against ovarian cancer.

In 2010, 7,011 women in the UK were diagnosed with ovarian cancer (Source: Cancer Research UK).

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Latest Research Publications

Information Patients and the Public (6 links)

Information for Health Professionals / Researchers (4 links)

  • PubMed search for publications about Ovarian Cancer - Limit search to: [Reviews]

    PubMed Central search for free-access publications about Ovarian Cancer
    MeSH term: Ovarian Neoplasms
    International US National Library of Medicine
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Latest Research Publications

Showing publications with corresponding authors from the UK (Source: PubMed).

Lago V, Fotopoulou C, Chiantera V, et al.
Risk factors for anastomotic leakage after colorectal resection in ovarian cancer surgery: A multi-centre study.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 153(3):549-554 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To determine pre-/intraoperative risk factors for anastomotic leak after modified posterior pelvic exenteration (MPE) or colorectal resection in ovarian cancer and to create a practical instrument for predicting anastomotic leak risk.
BACKGROUND: In advanced ovarian cancer surgery, there is rather limited published evidence, drawn from a small sample, providing information about risk factors for anastomotic leak.
METHODS: Eight hospitals participated in this retrospective study. Data on 695 patients operated for ovarian cancer with primary anastomosis were included (January 2010-June 2018). Twelve pre-/intraoperative variables were analysed as potential independent risk factors for anastomotic leak. A predictive model was created to stablish the risk of anastomotic leak for a given patient.
RESULTS: The anastomotic leak rate was 6.6% (46/695; range 1.7%-12.5%). A total of 457 patients were included in the final multivariate analysis. The following variables were found to be independently associated with anastomotic leakage: age at surgery (OR 1.046, 95% CI 1.013-1.080, p = 0.005), serum albumin level (OR 0.621, 95% CI 0.407-0.948, p = 0.027), one or more additional small bowel resections (OR 3.544, 95% CI 1.228-10.23, p = 0.019), manual anastomosis (OR 8.356, 95% CI 1.777-39.301, p = 0.007) and distance of the anastomosis from the anal verge (OR 0.839, 95% CI 0.726-0.971, p = 0.018).
CONCLUSIONS: Due to the low incidence of AL in ovarian cancer patients, a restrictive stoma policy based on the presence of risk factors should be the actual recommendation. Hand-sewn anastomosis should be avoided.

Byrne T, Nelson L, Beirne JP, et al.
BRCA1 and MAD2 Are Coexpressed and Are Prognostic Indicators in Tubo-ovarian High-Grade Serous Carcinoma.
Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2018; 28(3):472-478 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between BRCA1 and mitotic arrest deficiency protein 2 (MAD2) protein expression, as determined by immunohistochemistry, and clinical outcomes in epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC).
METHODS: A tissue microarray consisting of 94 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded EOC with fully matched clinicopathological data were immunohistochemically stained with anti-BRCA1 and anti-MAD2 antibodies. The cores were scored in a semiquantitative manner evaluating nuclear staining intensity and extent. Coexpression of BRCA1 and MAD2 was evaluated, and patient survival analyses were undertaken.
RESULTS: Coexpression of BRCA1 and MAD2 was assessed in 94 EOC samples, and survival analysis was performed on 65 high-grade serous carcinomas (HGSCs). There was a significant positive correlation between BRCA1 and MAD2 expression in this patient cohort (
CONCLUSION: BRCA1 and MAD2 expressions are strongly correlated in EOC, but BRCA1 expression remains the stronger prognostic factor in HGSC.

Tozzi R, Casarin J, Baysal A, et al.
Bowel resection rate but not bowel related morbidity is decreased after interval debulking surgery compared to primary surgery in patents with stage IIIC-IV ovarian cancer.
J Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 30(2):e25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To assess the morbidity associate with rectosigmoid resection (RSR) in patients with stage IIIC-IV ovarian cancer (OC) undergone primary debulking surgery (PDS) vs. interval debulking surgery (IDS) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT).
METHODS: From the Oxford Advanced OC database, we retrieved all patients who underwent surgery between January 2009 and July 2016 and included all patients who underwent RSR. We compared the rates of overall related and not-related morbidity and bowel diversion in patients undergone RSR during PDS vs. IDS.
RESULTS: Three hundred and seventy-one patients underwent surgery: 126 in PDS group and 245 in IDS group. Fifty-two patients in the PDS group (41.3%) and 65 patients in IDS group (26.5%) underwent RSR (p<0.001). Overall not related morbidity rate was 37.5% and 28.6%, p=0.625. Bowel specific complications affected 16.3% vs. 11.1% of the patients (p=0.577). IDS group had higher rate of bowel diversion compared with PDS (46.0% vs. 26.5%, p=0.048).
CONCLUSION: NACT was associated to an overall reduced rate of RSR compared to IDS. No differences in overall related and not-related complications in patients requiring RSR were seen between the 2 groups. Patients in the IDS group had a significantly higher rate of bowel diversion.

Hoskins P, Eccleston A, Hurry M, Dyer M
Targeted surgical prevention of epithelial ovarian cancer is cost effective and saves money in BRCA mutation carrying family members of women with epithelial ovarian cancer. A Canadian model.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 153(1):87-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Survival but not cure rates have improved for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), demonstrating the need for effective prevention. Targeted prevention in BRCA carriers by risk reducing surgery (RRS) prevents 80% of cases but incurs additional up-front costs, compensated for by the potential for long term savings from treatment avoidance. Does prevention represent value for money? In the absence of long-term data from prospective trials, determining the cost effectiveness of a prevention strategy requires economic modelling.
METHODS: A patient level simulation was developed comparing outcomes between two groups, using Canadian data. Group 1: no mutation testing with treatment if EOC developed. Group 2: cascade testing (index patient BRCA tested and the first and second-degree relatives tested if index patient or first-degree relative respectively were positive) with RRS in carriers. End points were Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) and budget impact.
RESULTS: 2786 women with EOC (1 year incidence) had 766 first and 207 second-degree female relatives. BRCA mutations were present in 390 index cases, 366 first and 49 second-degree relatives. With 100% RRS uptake, 59 EOC were prevented and testing dominated no testing (more effective and less costly; ICER -$8919). The total cost saving over 50 years was $2,904,486 (cost saving of $9,660,381 in treatment costs versus increased cost from cascade testing/RRS of $6,755,895). At a threshold of $100,000 per QALY, prevention was cost effective in all modelled scenarios.
CONCLUSIONS: Targeted prevention in BRCA mutation carriers not only prevents EOC but is cost-effective compared to treating EOC if it develops.

Fabbro M, Moore KN, Dørum A, et al.
Efficacy and safety of niraparib as maintenance treatment in older patients (≥ 70 years) with recurrent ovarian cancer: Results from the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 152(3):560-567 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the safety and efficacy of niraparib in patients aged ≥70 years with recurrent ovarian cancer in the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial.
METHODS: The trial enrolled 2 independent cohorts with histologically diagnosed recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer who responded to platinum rechallenge, on the basis of germline breast cancer susceptibility gene mutation (gBRCAmut) status. Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive niraparib (300 mg) or placebo once daily until disease progression. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) by blinded independent central review. Adverse events (AEs) of special interest were based on the known safety profile of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors.
RESULTS: Patients aged ≥70 years in the gBRCAmut cohort receiving niraparib (n = 14) had not yet reached a median PFS compared with a median PFS of 3.7 months for the same age group in the placebo arm (hazard ratio [HR], 0.09 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01 to 0.73]). Non-gBRCAmut patients aged ≥70 years receiving niraparib (n = 47) had a median PFS of 11.3 months compared with 3.8 months in the placebo arm (HR, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.18 to 0.71]). Median duration of follow-up in the niraparib arm was 17.3 months in patients ≥70 years and 17.2 months in patients <70 years. Frequency, severity of AEs, and dose reductions in the niraparib arm were similar in patients aged <70 and ≥ 70 years population. The most common grade ≥ 3 AEs in patients ≥70 years were hematologic: thrombocytopenia event (34.4%), anemia event (13.1%), and neutropenia event (16.4%).
CONCLUSIONS: For patients ≥70 years of age receiving niraparib as maintenance treatment in the ENGOT-OV16/NOVA trial, PFS benefits and incidence of any grade or serious treatment-emergent AEs were comparable to results in the younger population. Use of niraparib should be considered in this population.

Machirori M, Patch C, Metcalfe A
Black and Minority Ethnic women's decision-making for risk reduction strategies after BRCA testing: Use of context and knowledge.
Eur J Med Genet. 2019; 62(5):376-384 [PubMed] Related Publications
Within the field of breast cancer care, women concerned about their family history are offered genetic testing and subsequent treatment options based on several factors which include but are not limited to personal and family cancer disease histories and clinical guidelines. Discussions around decision-making in genetics in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups are rarely documented in literature, and information regarding interactions with genetics services is usually discussed and linked to lack of scientific knowledge. As such, counselling sessions based only on scientific and medical information miss out the many reasons participants consider in making health decisions, information which can be used to encourage BME women to engage in cancer genetics services. 10 BME women with a mixed personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer backgrounds, were interviewed in a study exploring issues of knowledge about familial breast cancer syndromes, to understand how they created and used familial knowledge for health decisions, with a particular focus on attitudes towards risk reducing strategies. Study results show that our participants are not unique in the ways they make decisions towards the use of cancer genetics and risk reduction strategies and as such, there are no specific ethnically defined pathways for decision-making. Our participants demonstrated mixed biomedical, social and individual cultural reasons for their decision-making towards risk reduction surgeries and treatment options which are similar to women from different ethnicities and are individual rather than group-specific. Narratives about suspicion of scientific utility of genetic knowledge, the perceived predictive value of mutations for future cancers or the origin of mutations and family disease patterns feature heavily in how participants evaluated genetic information and treatment decisions. The diversity of results shows that our participants are interested in engaging with genetic information but use multiple sources for evaluating the extent of involvement in genetic services and the place of genetic information and treatment options for themselves and their families. Genetic information is considered within various bio-social scenarios before decision-making for risk reduction is undertaken. BME women are shown to undertake evaluative processes which clinicians are encouraged to explore for better patient support. Continuing to focus on links between superficial and un-representative meanings of ethnicity, ethnic identity and attitudes and behaviours by only searching for differences between ethnic groups, are unhelpful in further understanding how women from those diverse backgrounds make decisions towards risk reduction interventions. Future research must find ways of investigating and understanding populations in ways that are not focussed solely on ethnic differences but on how meaning is created out of social circumstances and experiences.

Kim S, Wang M, Tyrer JP, et al.
A comprehensive gene-environment interaction analysis in Ovarian Cancer using genome-wide significant common variants.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(9):2192-2205 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
As a follow-up to genome-wide association analysis of common variants associated with ovarian carcinoma (cancer), our study considers seven well-known ovarian cancer risk factors and their interactions with 28 genome-wide significant common genetic variants. The interaction analyses were based on data from 9971 ovarian cancer cases and 15,566 controls from 17 case-control studies. Likelihood ratio and Wald tests for multiplicative interaction and for relative excess risk due to additive interaction were used. The top multiplicative interaction was noted between oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use (ever vs. never) and rs13255292 (p value = 3.48 × 10

Guan J, Xie L, Luo X, et al.
The prognostic significance of estrogen and progesterone receptors in grade I and II endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma: hormone receptors in risk stratification.
J Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 30(1):e13 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Although patients with grade I and II endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma (EEA) are considered with good prognosis, among them 15%-25% died in 5 years. It is still unknown whether integrating estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) into clinical risk stratification can help select high-risk patients with grade I-II EEA. This study was to investigate the prognostic value of ER and PR double negativity (ER/PR loss) in grade I-II EEA, and the association between ER/PR loss and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) classification.
METHODS: ER and PR were assessed by immunohistochemistry on hysterectomy specimens of 903 patients with grade I-II EEA. ER and PR negativity were determined when <1% tumor nuclei were stained. Gene expression data were obtained from the TCGA research network.
RESULTS: Compared with ER or PR positive patients (n=868), patients with ER/PR loss (n=35) had deeper myometrial infiltration (p=0.012), severer FIGO stage (p=0.004), and higher rate of pelvic lymph node metastasis (p=0.020). In univariate analysis, ER/PR loss correlated with a shorter progression-free survival (PFS; hazard ratio [HR]=5.25; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.21-12.52) and overall survival (OS; HR=7.59; 95% CI=2.55-22.60). In multivariate analysis, ER/PR loss independently predicted poor PFS (HR=3.77; 95% CI=1.60-10.14) and OS (HR=5.56; 95% CI=1.37-22.55) for all patients, and poor PFS for patients in stage IA (n=695; HR=5.54; 95% CI=1.28-23.89) and stage II-IV (n=129; HR=5.77; 95% CI=1.57-21.27). No association was found between ER/PR loss and TCGA classification.
CONCLUSION: Integrating ER/PR evaluation into clinical risk stratification may improve prognosis for grade I-II EEA patients.

Croce S, Lesluyes T, Delespaul L, et al.
GREB1-CTNNB1 fusion transcript detected by RNA-sequencing in a uterine tumor resembling ovarian sex cord tumor (UTROSCT): A novel CTNNB1 rearrangement.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2019; 58(3):155-163 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations of CTNNB1 have been implicated in tumorigenesis in many organs. However, tumors harboring a CTNNB1 translocation are extremely rare and this translocation has never been reported in a uterine mesenchymal neoplasm. We report a novel translocation t(2;3)(p25;p22) involving the GREB1 (intron 8) and CTNNB1 (exon 3) in a uterine tumor resembling ovarian sex cord tumor (UTROSCT), which exhibited extrauterine metastasis. The translocation detected by RNA-sequencing was validated by RT-PCR, and resulted in nuclear expression of β-catenin. Juxtapositioning with GREB1, which is overexpressed in response to estrogens, resulted in overexpression of a truncated and hypophosphorylated nuclear β-catenin in the primary and recurrent tumors. This accumulation of nuclear β-catenin results in a constitutive activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway with a major oncogenic effect. The CTNNB1 gene fusion, promoted by an estrogen-responsive gene (GREB1), could be a potential driver of tumorigenesis in this case and a therapeutic target with adapted inhibitors. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry performed on 11 additional UTROSCTs showed no CTNNB1 fusion transcript or nuclear β-catenin immunoreactivity.

Moore K, Colombo N, Scambia G, et al.
Maintenance Olaparib in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Advanced Ovarian Cancer.
N Engl J Med. 2018; 379(26):2495-2505 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Most women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer have a relapse within 3 years after standard treatment with surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. The benefit of the oral poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitor olaparib in relapsed disease has been well established, but the benefit of olaparib as maintenance therapy in newly diagnosed disease is uncertain.
METHODS: We conducted an international, randomized, double-blind, phase 3 trial to evaluate the efficacy of olaparib as maintenance therapy in patients with newly diagnosed advanced (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage III or IV) high-grade serous or endometrioid ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or fallopian-tube cancer (or a combination thereof) with a mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2, or both ( BRCA1/2) who had a complete or partial clinical response after platinum-based chemotherapy. The patients were randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to receive olaparib tablets (300 mg twice daily) or placebo. The primary end point was progression-free survival.
RESULTS: Of the 391 patients who underwent randomization, 260 were assigned to receive olaparib and 131 to receive placebo. A total of 388 patients had a centrally confirmed germline BRCA1/2 mutation, and 2 patients had a centrally confirmed somatic BRCA1/2 mutation. After a median follow-up of 41 months, the risk of disease progression or death was 70% lower with olaparib than with placebo (Kaplan-Meier estimate of the rate of freedom from disease progression and from death at 3 years, 60% vs. 27%; hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.23 to 0.41; P<0.001). Adverse events were consistent with the known toxic effects of olaparib.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of maintenance therapy with olaparib provided a substantial benefit with regard to progression-free survival among women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer and a BRCA1/2 mutation, with a 70% lower risk of disease progression or death with olaparib than with placebo. (Funded by AstraZeneca and Merck; SOLO1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01844986 .).

Nasser S, Lathouras K, Nixon K, et al.
Impact of right upper quadrant cytoreductive techniques with extensive liver mobilization on postoperative hepatic function and risk of liver failure in patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
Gynecol Oncol. 2018; 151(3):466-470 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate postoperative hepatic-function in patients with advanced ovarian cancer (OC) who underwent extensive right upper-quadrant (RUQ) cytoreduction in primary, relapsed or interval settings.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with OC who underwent liver resection, mobilization and/or diaphragmatic-stripping between 01/2013 and 12/2016. Postoperative liver enzyme function (LFTs), assessed by alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bilirubin (Bil), was correlated with postoperative complications.
RESULTS: 132 patients were identified. 81 patients (61%) underwent upfront, 25(19%) interval and 26(20%) secondary cytoreduction. The surgical procedures were right diaphragmatic peritoneal stripping (81/132;61%), full-thickness resection (42/132;32%), liver-capsule resection (85/132;64%), porta-hepatis tumor resection (11/132;8%) and partial hepatectomy (5/132;4%). 74%(98/132) of patients increased their LFTs postoperatively with a peak at 24-hours. Highest ALT median was 1.7-fold of upper normal limit (UNL), with the highest ALT value rising up to 28-fold UNL on the 1st postoperative day (PoD)(range 6-1792 IU/L). Median value of highest ALP was within normal, with the highest ALP value rising up to 4-fold UNL on PoD 5(range 22-512 IU/L). Median value of highest Bilirubin level was also within normal, with highest Bilirubin level rising up to 6-fold UNL on PoD 5(range: 2-120 μmol/L). Mean LFT-normalization time was 7 days (range: 3-14 days). No significant morbidity was directly linked to LFT deterioration, apart from one case (0.8%) of fatal fulminant hepatic-failure.
CONCLUSION: RUQ-cytoreduction is almost always associated with a transient LFT-increase, with no significant clinical implications and spontaneous normalization within the first postoperative week. Due to the existing risk of fulminant liver failure, albeit rare and difficult to predict, postoperatively elevated LFTs should be monitored, until normalization. Large prospective studies are required to assess the predictive value of LFTs and other risk factors for postoperative hepatic failure in patients with OC undergoing extensive RUQ-cytoreduction.

Kondrashova O, Topp M, Nesic K, et al.
Methylation of all BRCA1 copies predicts response to the PARP inhibitor rucaparib in ovarian carcinoma.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):3970 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Accurately identifying patients with high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) who respond to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor (PARPi) therapy is of great clinical importance. Here we show that quantitative BRCA1 methylation analysis provides new insight into PARPi response in preclinical models and ovarian cancer patients. The response of 12 HGSOC patient-derived xenografts (PDX) to the PARPi rucaparib was assessed, with variable dose-dependent responses observed in chemo-naive BRCA1/2-mutated PDX, and no responses in PDX lacking DNA repair pathway defects. Among BRCA1-methylated PDX, silencing of all BRCA1 copies predicts rucaparib response, whilst heterozygous methylation is associated with resistance. Analysis of 21 BRCA1-methylated platinum-sensitive recurrent HGSOC (ARIEL2 Part 1 trial) confirmed that homozygous or hemizygous BRCA1 methylation predicts rucaparib clinical response, and that methylation loss can occur after exposure to chemotherapy. Accordingly, quantitative BRCA1 methylation analysis in a pre-treatment biopsy could allow identification of patients most likely to benefit, and facilitate tailoring of PARPi therapy.

Rowley SM, Mascarenhas L, Devereux L, et al.
Population-based genetic testing of asymptomatic women for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility.
Genet Med. 2019; 21(4):913-922 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The identification of carriers of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) gene variants through family cancer history alone is suboptimal, and most population-based genetic testing studies have been limited to founder mutations in high-risk populations. Here, we determine the clinical utility of identifying actionable variants in a healthy cohort of women.
METHODS: Germline DNA from a subset of healthy Australian women participating in the lifepool project was screened using an 11-gene custom sequencing panel. Women with clinically actionable results were invited to attend a familial cancer clinic (FCC) for post-test genetic counseling and confirmatory testing. Outcomes measured included the prevalence of pathogenic variants, and the uptake rate of genetic counseling, risk reduction surgery, and cascade testing.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight of 5908 women (0.64%) carried a clinically actionable pathogenic variant. Forty-two percent of pathogenic variant carriers did not have a first-degree relative with breast or ovarian cancer and 89% pursued referral to an FCC. Forty-six percent (6/13) of eligible women pursued risk reduction surgery, and the uptake rate of cascade testing averaged 3.3 family members per index case.
CONCLUSION: Within our cohort, HBOC genetic testing was well accepted, and the majority of high-risk gene carriers identified would not meet eligibility criteria for genetic testing based on their existing family history.

Rajkumar S, Polson A, Nath R, et al.
Prognostic implications of histological tumor regression (Böhm's score) in patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy for high grade serous tubal & ovarian carcinoma.
Gynecol Oncol. 2018; 151(2):264-268 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Primary objective of this study was to determine prognostic significance of Bohm's histopathological regression score in patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) for treatment of high grade serous (HGS) tubal & ovarian carcinoma.
METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients who received NACT between 2010 and 2015. The 3 point histopathological regression score of Böhm was used to classify chemotherapy response. Survival outcomes between the 3 different subgroups was analysed and compared with standard clinico-pathological variables using the Cox proportional hazards model and log-rank test.
RESULTS: Study cohort comprised 111 patients. Chemotherapy response score (CRS) 3 was observed in 47 (42.4%) and CRS 1and CRS 2 in 22 (19.8%) and 42 (37.8%) women respectively. Women with CRS score of 1 and 2 combined showed a three-fold increased risk of progression on both univariate and multivariate assessment (HR 3.54; C.I 2.19-5.72, p < 0.001). The median overall survival for patients with CRS 1 was 34 months, CRS 2 was 30 months and 47 months for CRS 3. CRS 1 and 2 combined was the only variable that held significance in prediction of reduced overall survival on multivariate assessment (HR 3.26, C.I 1.91-5.54, p 0.0006). CRS 1 and 2 were also associated with 5.15-fold increased risk of relapse within 6 months of completion of chemotherapy (Odds ratio OR 5.15, C.I 0.07-0.47, p - 0.002).
CONCLUSION: CRS is an independent prognosticator of survival and reliable predictor of relapse within 6 months in advanced high grade serous tubal and ovarian carcinoma patients receiving NACT.

Anderson RC, Newton CL, Anderson RA, Millar RP
Gonadotropins and Their Analogs: Current and Potential Clinical Applications.
Endocr Rev. 2018; 39(6):911-937 [PubMed] Related Publications
The gonadotropin receptors LH receptor and FSH receptor play a central role in governing reproductive competency/fertility. Gonadotropin hormone analogs have been used clinically for decades in assisted reproductive therapies and in the treatment of various infertility disorders. Though these treatments are effective, the clinical protocols demand multiple injections, and the hormone preparations can lack uniformity and stability. The past two decades have seen a drive to develop chimeric and modified peptide analogs with more desirable pharmacokinetic profiles, with some displaying clinical efficacy, such as corifollitropin alfa, which is now in clinical use. More recently, low-molecular-weight, orally active molecules with activity at gonadotropin receptors have been developed. Some have excellent characteristics in animals and in human studies but have not reached the market-largely as a result of acquisitions by large pharma. Nonetheless, such molecules have the potential to mitigate risks currently associated with gonadotropin-based fertility treatments, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and the demands of injection-based therapies. There is also scope for novel use beyond the current remit of gonadotropin analogs in fertility treatments, including application as novel contraceptives; in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome; in the restoration of function to inactivating mutations of gonadotropin receptors; in the treatment of ovarian and prostate cancers; and in the prevention of bone loss and weight gain in postmenopausal women. Here we review the properties and clinical application of current gonadotropin preparations and their analogs, as well as the development of novel orally active, small-molecule nonpeptide analogs.

Earp M, Tyrer JP, Winham SJ, et al.
Variants in genes encoding small GTPases and association with epithelial ovarian cancer susceptibility.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(7):e0197561 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the fifth leading cause of cancer mortality in American women. Normal ovarian physiology is intricately connected to small GTP binding proteins of the Ras superfamily (Ras, Rho, Rab, Arf, and Ran) which govern processes such as signal transduction, cell proliferation, cell motility, and vesicle transport. We hypothesized that common germline variation in genes encoding small GTPases is associated with EOC risk. We investigated 322 variants in 88 small GTPase genes in germline DNA of 18,736 EOC patients and 26,138 controls of European ancestry using a custom genotype array and logistic regression fitting log-additive models. Functional annotation was used to identify biofeatures and expression quantitative trait loci that intersect with risk variants. One variant, ARHGEF10L (Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 10 like) rs2256787, was associated with increased endometrioid EOC risk (OR = 1.33, p = 4.46 x 10-6). Other variants of interest included another in ARHGEF10L, rs10788679, which was associated with invasive serous EOC risk (OR = 1.07, p = 0.00026) and two variants in AKAP6 (A-kinase anchoring protein 6) which were associated with risk of invasive EOC (rs1955513, OR = 0.90, p = 0.00033; rs927062, OR = 0.94, p = 0.00059). Functional annotation revealed that the two ARHGEF10L variants were located in super-enhancer regions and that AKAP6 rs927062 was associated with expression of GTPase gene ARHGAP5 (Rho GTPase activating protein 5). Inherited variants in ARHGEF10L and AKAP6, with potential transcriptional regulatory function and association with EOC risk, warrant investigation in independent EOC study populations.

Austria T, Marion C, Yu V, et al.
Mechanism of cytokinesis failure in ovarian cystadenomas with defective BRCA1 and P53 pathways.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(11):2932-2942 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
We previously described an in vitro model in which serous ovarian cystadenomas were transfected with SV40 large T antigen, resulting in loss of RB and P53 functions and thus mimicking genetic defects present in early high-grade serous extra-uterine Müllerian (traditionally called high-grade serous ovarian) carcinomas including those associated with the BRCA1 mutation carrier state. We showed that replicative aging in this cell culture model leads to a mitotic arrest at the spindle assembly checkpoint. Here we show that this arrest is due to a reduction in microtubule anchoring that coincides with decreased expression of the BUB1 kinase and of the phosphorylated form of its substrate, BUB3. The ensuing prolonged mitotic arrest leads to cohesion fatigue resulting in cell death or, in cells that recover from this arrest, in cytokinesis failure and polyploidy. Down-regulation of BRCA1 to levels similar to those present in BRCA1 mutation carriers leads to increased and uncontrolled microtubule anchoring to the kinetochore resulting in overcoming the spindle assembly checkpoint. Progression to anaphase under those conditions is associated with formation of chromatin bridges between chromosomal plates due to abnormal attachments to the kinetochore, significantly increasing the risk of cytokinesis failure. The dependence of this scenario on accelerated replicative aging can, at least in part, account for the site specificity of the cancers associated with the BRCA1 mutation carrier state, as epithelia of the mammary gland and of the reproductive tract are targets of cell-nonautonomous consequences of this carrier state on cellular proliferation associated with menstrual cycle progressions.

Pounds R, Phillips A, Kehoe S, et al.
Diaphragm disease in advanced ovarian cancer: Predictability of pre-operative imaging and safety of surgical intervention.
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2018; 226:47-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To establish the positive predictive values of pre-operative identification with CT imaging of metastatic diaphragm disease in surgically managed cases of advanced ovarian cancer (AOC). Additionally, we have assessed the post-operative morbidity and survival following diaphragmatic surgical intervention in a large regional cancer centre in the United Kingdom.
STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective review of all cases of AOC with metastatic diaphragm disease surgically treated at the Pan-Birmingham Gynaecological Cancer Centre, UK between 1st August 2007 and 29th February 2016.
RESULTS: A total of 536 women underwent surgery for primary AOC. Diaphragm disease was evident intra-operatively in 215/536 (40.1%) and 85/536 women (15.9%) underwent a procedure involving their diaphragm. Of these 85 cases, 38 peritoneal strippings (38/85, 44.7%), 31 partial diaphragmatic resections (31/85, 35.6%) and 16 electro-surgical ablations (16/85, 18.9%) were performed. There were no significant differences in post-operative complications between the three different diaphragmatic surgical groups. Of those patients who underwent peritoneal stripping or partial diaphragm resection, 12% were upstaged to stage 4A by virtue of pleural invasion. The positive predictive value for pre-operative radiological identification of diaphragmatic disease was 78.6%. CT imaging failed to detect diaphragmatic involvement despite obvious diaphragm disease during surgery in 29.4% of cases, giving a low negative predictive value of 64.8%. The sensitivity and specificity for CT imaging in detecting diaphragm disease was 44.3% and 93.8%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Diaphragmatic disease is often discovered in AOC. However, pre-operative assessment with CT imaging is not reliable in accurately detecting diaphragm involvement. Therefore, all patients with AOC should be regarded as in potential need for diaphragm surgery and their operation undertaken in cancer centres with adequate expertise in upper abdominal surgery. If there is a suspicion of diaphragm muscle invasion during diaphragmatic peritonectomy, the muscle should be partially resected. This will lead to potential upstaging of disease to stage 4A and therefore, to suitability for targeted therapy. In our Centre, the surgical removal of diaphragmatic disease did not significantly increase surgical morbidity.

Deshayes E, Ladjohounlou R, Le Fur P, et al.
Radiolabeled Antibodies Against Müllerian-Inhibiting Substance Receptor, Type II: New Tools for a Theranostic Approach in Ovarian Cancer.
J Nucl Med. 2018; 59(8):1234-1242 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have developed the 16F12 mouse monoclonal antibody (mAb), which targets the Müllerian-inhibiting substance receptor, type II (MISRII), expressed by ovarian tumors. Here, we assessed in preclinical models the possibility of using radiolabeled 16F12 in a theranostic approach for small-volume ovarian peritoneal carcinomatosis, such as after cytoreductive surgery.

Cramer DW, Fichorova RN, Terry KL, et al.
Anti-CA15.3 and Anti-CA125 Antibodies and Ovarian Cancer Risk: Results from the EPIC Cohort.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018; 27(7):790-804 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications

Menon U, Karpinskyj C, Gentry-Maharaj A
Ovarian Cancer Prevention and Screening.
Obstet Gynecol. 2018; 131(5):909-927 [PubMed] Related Publications
There has been much progress in ovarian cancer screening and prevention in recent years. Improved tools that combine genetic and epidemiologic factors to predict an individual's ovarian cancer risk are set to become available for tailoring preventive and screening approaches. The increasing evidence on tubal origins of a proportion of ovarian cancer has paved the way to use of opportunistic bilateral salpingectomy at tubal ligation and hysterectomy in the general population. Clinical trials are in progress to estimate the long-term effects on endocrine function. In women at high risk, risk reducing salpingo-oophorectomy remains the standard of care with the current focus on management of resulting noncancer outcomes, especially sexual dysfunction in younger women. This has led to evaluation of early bilateral salpingectomy and delayed oophorectomy in this population. Meanwhile, modeling suggests that BRCA mutation carriers should consider using the oral contraceptive pill for chemoprevention. In the general population, the largest ovarian cancer screening trial to date, the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening reported a stage shift with annual multimodal screening using the longitudinal CA 125 Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm but not with annual transvaginal ultrasound screening. There was no definitive mortality reduction with either screening strategy compared with no screening. Further follow-up until December 2018 in now underway. Stage shift and higher rates of optimal cytoreduction were also reported during 3- to 4-monthly multimodal screening in the United Kingdom and U.S. high-risk screening trials. Although all agree that there is not yet evidence to support general population screening, recommendations for high-risk screening vary between countries. A key finding from the screening trials has been the better performance of longitudinal algorithms compared with a single cutoff for CA 125. A major focus of ovarian cancer biomarker discovery work has been tumor DNA markers in both plasma and novel specimens such as cervical cytology samples.

Papaevangelou E, Almeida GS, Box C, et al.
The effect of FASN inhibition on the growth and metabolism of a cisplatin-resistant ovarian carcinoma model.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(4):992-1002 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Overexpression of fatty acid synthase (FASN), a key regulator of the de novo synthesis of fatty acids, has been demonstrated in a variety of cancers and is associated with poor prognosis and increased multidrug resistance. Inhibition of FASN with the anti-obesity drug orlistat has been shown to have significant anti-tumourigenic effects in many cancers, notably breast and prostate. In our study, we investigated whether FASN inhibition using orlistat is an effective adjunctive treatment for ovarian cancers that have become platinum resistant using a cisplatin-resistant ovarian tumour xenograft model in mice. Mice were treated with orlistat or cisplatin or a combination and metabolite analysis and histopathology were performed on the tumours ex vivo. Orlistat decreased tumour fatty acid metabolism by inhibiting FASN, cisplatin reduced fatty acid β-oxidation, and combination treatment delayed tumour growth and induced apoptotic and necrotic cell death in cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells over and above that with either treatment alone. Combination treatment also decreased glutamine metabolism, nucleotide and glutathione biosynthesis and fatty acid β-oxidation. Our data suggest that orlistat chemosensitised platinum-resistant ovarian cancer to treatment with platinum and resulted in enhanced efficacy.

Colombo N, Huang G, Scambia G, et al.
Evaluation of a Streamlined Oncologist-Led BRCA Mutation Testing and Counseling Model for Patients With Ovarian Cancer.
J Clin Oncol. 2018; 36(13):1300-1307 [PubMed] Related Publications
Purpose There is a growing demand for BRCA1/ 2 mutation ( BRCAm) testing in patients with ovarian cancer; however, the limited number of genetic counselors presents a potential barrier. To facilitate more widespread BRCAm testing in ovarian cancer, pretest counseling by the oncology team could shorten testing turnaround times and ease the pressure on genetic counselors. Patients and Methods The prospective, observational Evaluating a Streamlined Onco-genetic BRCA Testing and Counseling Model Among Patients With Ovarian Cancer (ENGAGE) study evaluated a streamlined, oncologist-led BRCAm testing pathway. The analysis population comprised 700 patients with ovarian cancer at 26 sites in the United States, Italy, and Spain. The primary objectives were to assess turnaround time and, using questionnaires, to evaluate stakeholder satisfaction (patients, oncologists, and geneticists or genetic counselors) with the oncologist-led BRCAm testing pathway. Results The median overall turnaround time was 9.1 weeks (range, 0.9 to 37.1 weeks), with median turnaround times in the United States, Italy, and Spain of 4.1 weeks (range, 0.9 to 37.1 weeks), 20.4 weeks (range, 2.9 to 35.4 weeks), and 12.0 weeks (range, 2.0 to 36.7 weeks), respectively. Patient satisfaction with the oncologist-led BRCAm testing pathway was high, with > 99% of patients expressing satisfaction with pre- and post- BRCAm test counseling. Oncologist satisfaction with the BRCAm testing pathway was also high, with > 80% agreeing that the process for performing BRCAm testing worked well and that counseling patients on BRCAm testing was an efficient use of their time. Oncologists expressed higher levels of satisfaction with the BRCAm testing pathway than did geneticists or genetic counselors. Conclusion The results of the ENGAGE study demonstrate that an oncologist-led BRCAm testing process is feasible in ovarian cancer. Development of local BRCAm testing guidelines similar to the one used in this study could allow faster treatment decisions and better use of resources in the management of patients with ovarian cancer.

Tozzi R, Casarin J, Belcher E, et al.
Concomitant Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Resection of Recurrent High-Grade Ovarian Cancer.
J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2018 Nov - Dec; 25(7):1148 [PubMed] Related Publications
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To describe the first case of combined endoscopic management of a thoracic and abdominal recurrence of ovarian cancer.
DESIGN: An instructive video showing the combined thoracic and abdominal surgical procedure.
SETTING: Department of Gynecological Oncology, Churchill Hospital, Oxford University, UK.
PATIENTS: A 64-year-old woman undergoing endoscopic treatment for a third recurrence of ovarian cancer after a full surgical staging in 2007. The disease-free interval from the last recurrence was 31 months.
INTERVENTION: The operation was performed by a multidisciplinary team of thoracic and gynecologic oncologist surgeons. Surgery started with thoracoscopic resection of a right enlarged paracardiac lymph node of 24 mm and a small wedge of the right lung, which was attached to the lymph node. At laparoscopy, 2 nodules of 3 and 5 mm were excised from the mesosigmoid and 1 nodule of 20 mm was resected from the right hemidiaphragm.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The total operative time was 251 minutes, and no intraoperative complication occurred. No conversion to open surgery was necessary. The estimated blood loss was 50 mL. There was no visible residual disease at the end of the surgery. The patient was discharged 4 days after surgery. The final pathology report confirmed the presence of endometrioid adenocarcinoma in all specimens removed. Adjuvant chemotherapy with carboplatin/paclitaxel was started 2 weeks later. At the 60-day follow-up, no complications were recorded. A computed tomographic scan performed after 6 cycles of chemotherapy did not reveal any evidence of relapse.
CONCLUSIONS: The combined endoscopic approach might be feasible in selected patients.

Kaaks R, Fortner RT, Hüsing A, et al.
Tumor-associated autoantibodies as early detection markers for ovarian cancer? A prospective evaluation.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(3):515-526 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Immuno-proteomic screening has identified several tumor-associated autoantibodies (AAb) that may have diagnostic capacity for invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, with AAbs to P53 proteins and cancer-testis antigens (CTAGs) as prominent examples. However, the early detection potential of these AAbs has been insufficiently explored in prospective studies. We performed ELISA measurements of AAbs to CTAG1A, CTAG2, P53 and NUDT11 proteins, for 194 patients with ovarian cancer and 705 matched controls from the European EPIC cohort, using serum samples collected up to 36 months prior to diagnosis under usual care. CA125 was measured using electrochemo-luminiscence. Diagnostic discrimination statistics were calculated by strata of lead-time between blood collection and diagnosis. With lead times ≤6 months, ovarian cancer detection sensitivity at 0.98 specificity (SE98) varied from 0.19 [95% CI 0.08-0.40] for CTAG1A, CTAG2 and NUDT1 to 0.23 [0.10-0.44] for P53 (0.33 [0.11-0.68] for high-grade serous tumors). However, at longer lead-times, the ability of these AAb markers to distinguish future ovarian cancer cases from controls declined rapidly; at lead times >1 year, SE98 estimates were close to zero (all invasive cases, range: 0.01-0.11). Compared to CA125 alone, combined logistic regression scores of AAbs and CA125 did not improve detection sensitivity at equal level of specificity. The added value of these selected AAbs as markers for ovarian cancer beyond CA125 for early detection is therefore limited.

Morgan RD, Clamp AR, Hasan J, et al.
An Outpatient, Dose-Intense, Intravenous Cisplatin and Oral Etoposide Regimen for the Treatment of Advanced, Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer.
Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2018; 28(3):448-452 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Advanced-stage, platinum-resistant, ovarian cancer can be treated with dose-intense chemotherapy; one such regimen includes intravenous cisplatin and oral etoposide. To minimize the toxicity associated with weekly cisplatin, pretreatment and posttreatment hydration is required, often necessitating inpatient, overnight admission. We report a shorter, within-day regimen for delivering weekly cisplatin.
METHODS: This was a retrospective study to assess the use of standard (inpatient; treatment time of 12 hours) versus modified (outpatient; treatment time of 4 hours) regimens. The primary outcome included all-grade and grade 3/4 adverse events. Secondary outcomes included clinical benefit response and, median progression-free survival and overall survival.
RESULTS: Between January 2012 and December 2014, 66 women with metastatic ovarian cancer received dose-intense weekly cisplatin and oral etoposide (n = 45 standard, n = 21 modified). The commonest all-grade adverse events were anemia (96% vs 90%, standard and modified, respectively), fatigue (73% vs 67%), neutropenia (71% vs 76%), hypocalcemia (51% vs 43%), and thrombocytopenia (49% vs 57%). There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence or grades of adverse events. The clinical benefit response was 53% in the standard group and 62% in the modified group (P = 0.9). The median progression-free survival was 4.2 and 6.5 months (incidence rate ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-2.15; P = 0.29), and median overall survival was 6.6 and 8.4 months (incidence rate ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-3.35; P = 0.03), in favor of the modified regimen.
CONCLUSIONS: Our shorter, within-day regimen for delivering dose-intense weekly cisplatin and oral etoposide to treat platinum-resistant metastatic ovarian cancer is safe and efficacious.

Phillips A, Sundar S, Singh K, et al.
Complete cytoreduction after five or more cycles of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy confers a survival benefit in advanced ovarian cancer.
Eur J Surg Oncol. 2018; 44(6):760-765 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of 5 or more cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) and cytoreductive outcomes on overall survival (OS) in patients undergoing interval debulking surgery (IDS) for advanced ovarian cancer.
METHODS: A retrospective review of patients receiving NACT followed by IDS between 2007 and 2017. Patients were analysed according to number of NACT cycles received: group 1 consisted of patients receiving ≤4 cycles and group 2 consisted of those receiving ≥5 cycles. Outcomes were stratified by cytoreductive outcome, surgical complexity, stage and chemotherapy exposure.
RESULTS: 231 patients in group 1 and 167 in group 2 were identified. In group 1, the OS for those achieving Complete (R0), Optimal<1 cm (R1) and Suboptimal (R2) was 51.1, 36.1, and 34.3 months respectively. Statistically significant differences in survival were seen in patients achieving R0vR2 (p < 0.019) but not in R0vR1 (p = 0.125) or R1vR2 (p = 0.358). In group 2, the OS for those achieving R0, R1 and R2 was 53.0, 24.7, and 22.1 months respectively. Statistically significant differences were seen between R0vR1 and R0vR2 (p < 0.00001) but not between R1vR2 (p = 0.917). No difference in OS was seen between groups 1 and 2. In patients achieving R1, there was a trend towards decreasing OS with increasing exposure to NACT from 36.1 (95%CI 32.0-40.2)months with 3 cycles to 24.3 (95%CI 14.4-34.2)months with ≥6 cycles.
CONCLUSIONS: Surgery with utilisation of cytoreductive procedures to achieve complete clearance should be offered to all patients even after ≥5 cycles if R0 can be achieved. R1 cytoreduction has questionable value in those receiving ≤4 cycles and no value in those receiving ≥5 cycles.

Ricci F, Carrassa L, Christodoulou MS, et al.
A High-throughput Screening of a Chemical Compound Library in Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells.
Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2018; 21(1):50-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epithelial ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis, mostly due to its late diagnosis and the development of drug resistance after a first platinum-based regimen. The presence of a specific population of "cancer stem cells" could be responsible of the relapse of the tumor and the development of resistance to therapy. For this reason, it would be important to specifically target this subpopulation of tumor cells in order to increase the response to therapy.
METHOD: We screened a chemical compound library assembled during the COST CM1106 action to search for compound classes active in targeting ovarian stem cells. We here report the results of the high-throughput screening assay in two ovarian cancer stem cells and the differentiated cells derived from them.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Interestingly, there were compounds active only on stem cells, only on differentiated cells, and compounds active on both cell populations. Even if these data need to be validated in ad hoc dose response cytotoxic experiments, the ongoing analysis of the compound structures will open up to mechanistic drug studies to select compounds able to improve the prognosis of ovarian cancer patients.

Curry E, Zeller C, Masrour N, et al.
Genes Predisposed to DNA Hypermethylation during Acquired Resistance to Chemotherapy Are Identified in Ovarian Tumors by Bivalent Chromatin Domains at Initial Diagnosis.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(6):1383-1391 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bivalent chromatin domains containing both active H3K4me3 and repressive H3K27me3 histone marks define gene sets poised for expression or silencing in differentiating embryonic stem (ES) cells. In cancer cells, aberrantly poised genes may facilitate changes in transcriptional states after exposure to anticancer drugs. In this study, we used ChIP-seq to characterize genome-wide positioning of H3K4me3- and H3K27me3-associated chromatin in primary high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas and in normal ovarian surface and fallopian tube tissue. Gene sets with proximal bivalent marks defined in this manner were evaluated subsequently as signatures of systematic change in DNA methylation and gene expression, comparing pairs of tissue samples taken from patients at primary presentation and relapse following chemotherapy. We found that gene sets harboring bivalent chromatin domains at their promoters in tumor tissue, but not normal epithelia, overlapped with Polycomb-repressive complex target genes as well as transcriptionally silenced genes in normal ovarian and tubal stem cells. The bivalently marked genes we identified in tumors before chemotherapy displayed increased promoter CpG methylation and reduced gene expression at relapse after chemotherapy of ovarian cancer. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that preexisting histone modifications at genes in a poised chromatin state may lead to epigenetic silencing during acquired drug resistance.

Lønning PE, Berge EO, Bjørnslett M, et al.
White Blood Cell BRCA1 Promoter Methylation Status and Ovarian Cancer Risk.
Ann Intern Med. 2018; 168(5):326-334 [PubMed] Related Publications
Background: The role of normal tissue gene promoter methylation in cancer risk is poorly understood.
Objective: To assess associations between normal tissue BRCA1 methylation and ovarian cancer risk.
Design: 2 case-control (initial and validation) studies.
Setting: 2 hospitals in Norway (patients) and a population-based study (control participants).
Participants: 934 patients and 1698 control participants in the initial study; 607 patients and 1984 control participants in the validation study.
Measurements: All patients had their blood sampled before chemotherapy. White blood cell (WBC) BRCA1 promoter methylation was determined by using methylation-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and the percentage of methylation-positive samples was compared between population control participants and patients with ovarian cancer, including the subgroup with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC).
Results: In the initial study, BRCA1 methylation was more frequent in patients with ovarian cancer than control participants (6.4% vs. 4.2%; age-adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.83 [95% CI, 1.27 to 2.63]). Elevated methylation, however, was restricted to patients with HGSOC (9.6%; OR, 2.91 [CI, 1.85 to 4.56]), in contrast to 5.1% and 4.0% of patients with nonserous and low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC), respectively. These findings were replicated in the validation study (methylation-positive status in 9.1% of patients with HGSOC vs. 4.3% of control participants-OR, 2.22 [CI 1.40 to 3.52]-4.1% of patients with nonserous ovarian cancer, and 2.7% of those with LGSOC). The results were not influenced by tumor burden, storage time, or WBC subfractions. In separate analyses of young women and newborns, BRCA1 methylation was detected in 4.1% (CI, 1.8% to 6.4%) and 7.0% (CI, 5.0% to 9.1%), respectively.
Limitations: Patients with ovarian cancer were recruited at the time of diagnosis in a hospital setting.
Conclusion: Constitutively normal tissue BRCA1 promoter methylation is positively associated with risk for HGSOC.
Primary Funding Source: Norwegian Cancer Society.

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