Histopathology of familial ovarian tumors in women from families with and without germline BRCA1 mutations

Hum Pathol. 2000 Nov;31(11):1420-4.


Breast cancers from patients with germline BRCA1 mutations show characteristic histopathologic features. However, similar studies of BRCA1-associated ovarian cancers have reported inconsistent findings. Interobserver differences in histopathologic classification are a significant source of variation, and most studies have obtained histopathologic information from pathology reports rather than from review of histopathology slides. We therefore reviewed the histopathology slides and pathology reports to determine histologic type, grade, and stage for cancers of the ovary or peritoneum in 217 women from 126 families enrolled in the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry. Peripheral blood DNA from at least 1 affected member of each family was analyzed for BRCA1 mutations, and tumors from BRCA1 mutation-positive families were compared with those from BRCA1-negative families. Of 66 patients from 36 BRCA1-positive families, 64 had ovarian carcinoma, 1 had an ovarian carcinoma in situ, and 1 had a dysgerminoma. Of 151 patients from 90 BRCA1-negative families, 135 had ovarian carcinoma, 10 had ovarian borderline tumors, 3 had ovarian sex cord/stromal tumors, and 3 had primary peritoneal carcinoma. There were fewer grade 1 (P <.001) and stage I (P =.10) cancers in patients from BRCA1-positive families than in patients from BRCA1-negative families. Neither mucinous nor borderline tumors were found in the BRCA1-positive families. Ovarian cancers arising in women from BRCA1-positive families are more likely to be high grade and nonmucinous than cancers arising in women from BRCA1-negative families. The absence of borderline tumors in patients from BRCA1-positive families adds to accumulating evidence that BRCA1 mutations do not play a role in the development of these tumors. HUM PATHOL 31:1420-1424.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / complications
  • Carcinoma in Situ / genetics
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Dysgerminoma / complications
  • Dysgerminoma / genetics
  • Dysgerminoma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / genetics
  • Sex Cord-Gonadal Stromal Tumors / pathology*


  • DNA, Neoplasm