Project details


Treatment characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer by BRCA mutational status

gyneacological oncology oncological epidemiology ovarian cancer

dr. M.J.E. Mourits
Prof. dr. G.H. de Bock
L. Lanjouw

Nature of the research:
Oncological epidemiology, gynecological oncology

Fields of study:
epidemiology gynaecology oncology

Background / introduction
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the seventh most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide [1]. Due to its asymptomatic nature, OC is typically diagnosed in a late stage, negatively affecting survival outcomes. Despite a high response rate to initial treatment, 70% of the patients experience disease recurrence or progression within three years of diagnosis [2].

While the OC incidence in the Netherlands is 1.3% lifetime, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are estimated to be associated with average cumulative lifetime risk for developing OC of 39% and 11%, respectively [3]. Previous studies have indicated differences in clinical behavior of OC between BRCA carriers and noncarriers, however, there is lack of real-world treatment data on the differences associated with this genetic profile.
Research question / problem definition
Carrying a BRCA mutation has been associated with a higher sensitivity towards platin-based chemotherapy and improved progression free survival (PFS) [4-6]. However, it remains unclear whether these findings translate to more beneficial long-term outcomes, such as overall survival. The current study aims to further investigate this matter by making use of the OncoLifeS databiobank of the University Medical Center of Groningen.
We are looking for an enthusiastic student with affinity for gynecology and epidemiological research as the current study is a great opportunity to gain experience in both research and clinical settings. Additional data concerning treatment of the patients will be retrieved from regional hospitals in the Northern Netherlands, collected into a larger database and processed into formats for subsequent analyses. Moreover, there will also be opportunities to be involved in subsequent steps of the study and to experience the day-to-day practice at the clinic.
1. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, Diet, nutrition, physical activity and ovarian cancer, in Continuous Update Project Expert Report. 2018.
2. Ledermann, J.A., et al., Newly diagnosed and relapsed epithelial ovarian carcinoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol, 2013. 24 Suppl 6: p. vi24-32.
3. Antoniou, A., et al., Average risks of breast and ovarian cancer associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations detected in case Series unselected for family history: a combined analysis of 22 studies. Am J Hum Genet, 2003. 72(5): p. 1117-30.
4. Alsop, K., et al., BRCA mutation frequency and patterns of treatment response in BRCA mutation-positive women with ovarian cancer: a report from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group. J Clin Oncol, 2012. 30(21): p. 2654-63.
5. Tan, D.S., et al., "BRCAness" syndrome in ovarian cancer: a case-control study describing the clinical features and outcome of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. J Clin Oncol, 2008. 26(34): p. 5530-6.
6. Boyd, J., et al., Clinicopathologic features of BRCA-linked and sporadic ovarian cancer. JAMA, 2000. 283(17): p. 2260-5.
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