UK BRCA mutation testing in patients with ovarian cancer

Br J Cancer. 2015 Dec 15;113 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S17-21. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.396.


Despite the increasing clinical importance of germline BRCA mutation status in managing women with ovarian cancer, few patients are currently being tested. The traditional means of selecting patients for BRCA mutation testing using restrictive criteria will miss many women with a mutation. To expand access to testing and streamline the testing process, several centres in the UK have been developing new models for BRCA testing. Trials with these integrated models involving closer collaborations between genetics and oncology services are now under way. In addition to testing for BRCA mutations, there is also increasing interest in testing for other genes associated with a predisposition to ovarian cancer. Advances in next-generation sequencing technology have resulted in the development of comprehensive genetic testing panels for use in the research and diagnostic settings. Interest is also increasing in expanding testing for somatic mutations in ovarian cancer, particularly for genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, whereby mutations may allow more patients to benefit from targeted agents, including poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors. In this review, the issues of who should be offered testing, how testing could be delivered, when testing should occur and the technology and costs associated with genetic testing are addressed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • United Kingdom


  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors