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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Nov 1;21(21):4034-41.

Bilateral prophylactic oophorectomy and ovarian cancer screening following BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation testing.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA.



Despite the widespread availability of genetic testing for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations, little is known about the impact of testing on ovarian cancer prevention and screening. For mutation testing to effect cancer mortality, positive test results must be followed by appropriate behavior change. In this study, we prospectively examined the impact of BRCA1/2 testing on the utilization of prophylactic oophorectomy and ovarian cancer screening.


Participants were 289 high-risk women who underwent genetic counseling and testing for alterations in the BRCA1/2 genes. We measured self-reported receipt of bilateral prophylactic oophorectomy (BPO) and utilization of CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) in the year following testing, and examined the impact of test results on these outcomes. In addition, we examined the role of sociodemographic, medical, family history, and psychological variables on the receipt of BPO, CA-125, and TVU.


Twenty-seven percent of mutation carriers, 5% of uninformative patients, and 2% of noncarriers received a BPO in the year following testing. In addition to test results, perceived risk for ovarian cancer and family history of ovarian cancer independently predicted receipt of BPO. The receipt of a positive test result was associated with increased utilization of CA-125 and TVU. Additional predictors included perceived risk for ovarian cancer (both CA-125 and TVU) and state anxiety (CA-125).


These results demonstrate the significant behavioral impact of receiving a positive BRCA1/2 test result. The increased rate of oophorectomy among mutation carriers suggests that testing for BRCA1/2 mutations may ultimately impact ovarian cancer mortality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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