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Jan 2, 2008

BRCA1/2 Mutations Increase Survival in Ovarian Cancer Patients

  • Investigators found that Ashkenazi Jewish women with ovarian cancer who have mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes lived significantly longer than Ashkenazi Jewish ovarian cancer patients without these mutations.

    Researchers from the National Israeli Study of Ovarian Cancer compared five-year survival between 213 Ashkenazi ovarian cancer patients with BRCA1/2 mutations and 392 Ashkenazi ovarian cancer patients without the mutations.

    After five years, 46% of the carriers were still alive, compared with 34.4% of the noncarriers. Median survival was 53.7 months for carriers and 37.9 months for noncarriers. The differences in survival were most pronounced for women diagnosed with more stage III or IV disease, with five-year survival rates of 38.1% for carriers and 24.5% for noncarriers.

    These findings persisted after controlling for other factors that influence ovarian cancer survival such as patient age and some biological features of the tumor.

    The scientists also analyzed ovarian cancer survival according to whether women had a BRCA1 or a BRCA2 mutation. Women with BRCA1 mutations lived a median of 45.1 months, and women with BRCA2 mutations lived a median of 52.5 months.

    The study included researchers at Gertner Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Haemek Medical Center, and the Sackler School of Medicine. The findings were published in the January 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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