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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jan 1;26(1):20-5. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.11.6905.

Effect of BRCA1/2 mutations on long-term survival of patients with invasive ovarian cancer: the national Israeli study of ovarian cancer.

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  • 1Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Unit, Gertner Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.



To evaluate the long-term survival of ovarian cancer (OvC) patients in total and by BRCA1/2 mutation status.


In a nationwide case-control study on OvC conducted in Israel between 1994 and 1999, 779 Jewish women with epithelial invasive OvC were tested for the three Ashkenazi Jewish founder mutations in BRCA1 (185delAG; 5382insC) and BRCA2 (6174delT) genes and followed for survival up to 2003. Of the 605 women of Ashkenazi origin, 213 (35.2%) carried a mutation in the BRCA1/2 genes. Clinical characteristics were abstracted from the patients' medical records. The Kaplan-Meier method, log-rank tests, and stepwise Cox regression model were used for survival analyses.


The 5-year survival rate for the entire group was 39%. Median survival for carriers was significantly longer than for noncarriers (53.7 v 37.9 months, respectively; P = .002). This differential survival was pronounced among women diagnosed at stages III to IV (5-year survival rates of 38.1% and 24.5% for carriers and noncarriers, respectively; P < .001) and for women with poor grade (45.4% v 31.5%, for carriers and noncarriers, respectively; P < .001). These results remained significant after controlling for age at diagnosis, grade, and morphology. This benefit in prognosis was seen for both BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers compared with noncarriers. During the study period (median follow-up, 6.2 years), being a BRCA1/2 mutation carrier decreased the mortality rate by 28%.


This study confirms that, among Ashkenazi OvC patients, BRCA1/2 mutations are associated with improved long-term survival. This may be due to distinct clinical behavior and/or to a better response to chemotherapy.

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