Long-term ovarian cancer survival associated with mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Jan 16;105(2):141-8. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs494. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


Background: Studies have suggested that the 5-year survival of women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is better than expected. We sought to evaluate the impact of carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation on long-term survival of women after a diagnosis of invasive ovarian cancer.

Methods: One thousand six hundred twenty-six unselected women diagnosed with invasive ovarian cancer in Ontario, Canada, or in Tampa, Florida, between 1995 and 2004 were followed for a mean of 6.9 years (range = 0.3 to 15.7 years). Mutation screening for BRCA1 and BRCA2 revealed mutations in 218 women (13.4%). Left-truncated survival analysis was conducted to estimate ovarian cancer-specific survival at various time points after diagnosis for women with and without mutations.

Results: In the 3-year period after diagnosis, the presence of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation was associated with a better prognosis (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.48 to 0.98; P = .03), but at 10 years after diagnosis, the hazard ratio was 1.00 (95% CI = 0.83 to 1.22; P = .90). Among women with serous ovarian cancers, 27.4% of women who were BRCA1 mutation carriers, 27.7% of women who were BRCA2 carriers, and 27.1% of women who were noncarriers were alive at 12 years past diagnosis.

Conclusion: For women with invasive ovarian cancer, the short-term survival advantage of carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation does not lead to a long-term survival benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Registries
  • Time Factors