Research Article| Volume 163, ISSUE 1, P130-133, October 2021

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Germline mutations in Black patients with ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal carcinomas

Published:August 24, 2021DOI:


      • Ovarian cancer genetic predisposition does not vary in White & Black patients.
      • Black & White patients have similar pathogenic germline mutation rates.
      • Germline BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations provided a progression free advantage.
      • Germline BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations provided an overall survival advantage.
      • Offer genetic testing to all patients with ovarian cancer, regardless of race.



      Routine genetic testing for ovarian cancer and identification of germline mutations can help improve early detection of cancer as well as guide treatment. Knowledge of genetic counseling and referral rates for genetic testing has been lower for Black patients, compared to White patients. We aimed to describe the demographics and presence of germline mutations in Black individuals with ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal carcinoma at two large academic institutions.


      Fifty-one Black patients with invasive epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal carcinoma were identified via institutional tissue banks over a 20-year time-period. Germline DNA was sequenced using BROCA, a targeted capture and parallel sequencing assay that identified pathogenic germline mutations in ovarian carcinoma susceptibility genes.


      Germline mutations in ovarian cancer susceptibility genes were found in 25.5% of women, most commonly BRCA1 and BRCA2. This mutation frequency mirrors those previously described among predominantly White populations. Our data suggests there may be an advantage in survival among those with germline mutations, although this was not statistically significant.


      Given similar frequencies of germline mutations between Black and White patients with ovarian cancer, we conclude that there are not major differences in the genetic predisposition to ovarian carcinoma. Equitable access to genomic advancements including germline and tumor sequencing would facilitate equal access to PARP inhibitors, the standard of care for patients with BRCA mutated advanced ovarian cancer.
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