Current understanding of the epidemiology and clinical implications of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations for ovarian cancer

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Feb;14(1):19-26. doi: 10.1097/00001703-200202000-00004.


Genetic testing for susceptibility to ovarian cancer is rapidly becoming integrated into the clinical practice of oncology. Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is now recommended to most women with invasive ovarian cancer. Approximately 10% of these women will have a positive test, including 4% of women without a family history of cancer. Currently, the treatment of hereditary ovarian cancer is the same as for non-hereditary ovarian cancer. It appears that women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA mutation experience better survival than women without a mutation, possibly due to enhanced susceptibility to chemotherapy. Strategies for prevention of ovarian cancer among carriers include oral contraceptives, tubal ligation and prophylactic oophorectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Ovariectomy


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-125 Antigen