Older age should not be a barrier to testing for somatic variants in homologous recombination DNA repair-related genes in patients with high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma

Transl Oncol. 2023 May;31:101638. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2023.101638. Epub 2023 Feb 18.


Background: Somatic pathogenic variants (PVs) in homologous recombination DNA repair (HR)-related genes found in high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGSC) are not well-characterised in older patients (≥70 years). This may reflect low testing rates in older patients.

Methods: Data from 1210 HGSC patients in AACR Project GENIE and 324 patients in an independent dataset INOVATe were analysed. Cases where somatic variants could be distinguished from germline variants were included, and analysis was restricted to those with a somatic TP53 variant, to ensure cases were HGSC.

Results: Of 1210 patients in GENIE, 27% (n = 325) were aged ≥70 years at testing. Patients with somatic-only PVs in BRCA2 were older compared with BRCA1 (median 71 vs 60 years, p = 0.002). Median age for 21 patients with somatic-only PVs in 11 other HR-related genes ranged from 40 to 67 years. In older patients, 7% (n = 22) had somatic BRCA1/2 PVs, and 1% (n = 2) had PVs other HR-related genes; this rate was not significantly different to younger patients (<70 years), 7% (n = 62) BRCA1/2 and 2% (n = 19) other HR-related genes (p = 0.36). The overall frequency of somatic BRCA1/2 PVs was similar in INOVATe (n = 25; 7.7%) and somatic-only BRCA2 PVs were again found in older patients compared with BRCA1 (median age: at testing, 70 vs 63 years; at diagnosis, 68 vs 60 years).

Conclusions: The overall frequency of somatic-only PVs in HR-related genes was similar in older and younger patients with HGSC, highlighting the importance of somatic testing irrespective of age. Limiting somatic testing by age may exclude patients who could benefit from maintenance poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.

Keywords: Older patients; Ovarian cancer; Somatic testing.