The future is exciting for genetic research
Due to better understanding of the underlying biology of specific ovarian cancer tumors, genetic testing has advanced in recent years. “What is surprising to people is you see these mutations across the board in a variety of ovarian cancers, and that is really important to understand who should be testing. It is not just someone who has high-grade serous type, anyone who has ovarian cancer should be tested for these mutations,” said Alvarez Secord.
20-25% of individuals with ovarian cancer have a deleterious germline or mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. If a woman tests positive for germline BRCA or another type of high-risk mutation, the result could predict therapeutic implications. It may also be able to pinpoint the woman’s cancer risk in other areas of her body, while identifying relatives that should undergo testing (also known as cascade testing). For women who do not test positive for germline mutation, genetic testing will help them to avoid unnecessary surgical risks. “The most exciting thing for us right now is being able to identify these genes that increase your risk, being able to implement appropriate screening procedures, doing the surgery and the cascade testing, and preventing these diseases from even occurring. And we can do that – right here, right now,” said Alvarez Secord.