Research Article| Volume 125, ISSUE 3, P677-682, June 2012

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BRCA1/2 mutations and expression: Response to platinum chemotherapy in patients with advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancer



      Our objective was to determine the rate of BRCA1/2 deficiency in platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant tumors from a cohort of unselect patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOH).


      BRCA1/2 mutation analysis was performed in 29 patients with platinum-sensitive EOC and 24 patients with platinum-resistant disease. Germline DNA was analyzed in mutation carriers when normal tissue was available. BRCA expression was ascertained by quantitative rt-PCR. Associations between BRCA mutation status and expression levels and parameters of platinum response were analyzed.


      Fifteen of 53 (28.3%) EOC tumors had BRCA1/2 mutations. Twelve mutations were in BRCA1, while 3 involved BRCA2. Of the 12 mutation-carriers with normal tissue available for DNA analyses, 33.3% of the mutations were found to be somatic. Three mutations were novel. The majority of BRCA mutations (73%) were identified in patients with platinum-sensitive disease. In total, 38% of platinum-sensitive tumors were found to have a BRCA mutation, compared to 17% of the platinum-resistant patients. A statistical trend toward platinum-sensitive disease was seen in BRCA mutation carriers (p=0.079). Nineteen (36%) study patients had some form of BRCA deficiency, and these patients were less likely to have platinum-resistant tumors (OR=0.29; p value=0.048).


      BRCA mutations occurred more frequently in platinum-sensitive EOC than platinum-resistant disease. The high overall frequency of BRCA deficiency in EOC underscores the importance of tumor profiling as therapies targeting the DNA repair pathway are being investigated.


      • BRCA mutations occur in a high percentage of advanced stage epithelial ovarian cancers.
      • BRCA deficiency may define a patient population who will benefit from PARP therapy.
      • Three novel BRCA mutations were discovered in this patient population.


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