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Ann Oncol. 2011 Nov;22(11):2403-10. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq770. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) protein expression as a prognostic marker in sporadic epithelial ovarian carcinoma: an NCIC CTG OV.16 correlative study.

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  • 1Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



Breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) protein inactivation in sporadic ovarian carcinoma (OC) is common and low BRCA1 expression is linked with platinum sensitivity. The clinical validation of BRCA1 as a prognostic marker in OC remains unresolved.


In 251 patient samples from the NCIC CTG clinical trial, OV.16, BRCA1 protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry.


For all patients, when BRCA1 score was analyzed as a continuous variable, there was no significant correlation between BRCA1 protein expression and progression-free survival (PFS) [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.15 (0.96-1.37), P = 0.12] or response rate [HR = 0.89 (0.70-1.12), P = 0.32]. In the 116 patients with minimal residual disease (RD), higher BRCA1 expression correlated significantly with worse PFS [HR = 1.40 (1.04-1.89), P = 0.03]. Subgroup analysis divided patients with minimal RD into low (BRCA1 ≤2.5) and high (BRCA1 >2.5) expression groups. Patients with low BRCA1 expression had a more favorable outcome [median PFS was 24.7 and 16.6 months in patients with low and high BRCA1, respectively; HR = 0.56 (0.35-0.89), P = 0.01].


This study suggests that BRCA1 protein is a prognostic marker in sporadic OC patients with minimal RD. Further research is needed to evaluate BRCA1 as a predictive biomarker and to target BRCA1 expression to enhance chemotherapeutic sensitivity.

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