Genetic marker may help predict risk of ovarian cancer

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Four of 10 women diagnosed with both ovarian and breast cancer possess a variant of a known-cancer causing gene, a new study published May 25 in the online journal PLoS One confirms.

Yale researchers had previously identified the gene known as KRAS-variant as valuable genetic marker to predict the risk of developing deadly ovarian cancer for women, however there had been conflicting evidence of its value in another study.

“This is more confirmatory evidence that this genetic test could aid women at risk of developing ovarian cancer by allowing them to make informed decisions about their health,” said Joanne B. Weidhaas, a study author and associate professor of therapeutic radiology who led the team that originally discovered the KRAS-variant.

An independent team of researchers led by scientists from Ohio State University looked for the variant in a group of women who had been diagnosed with both ovarian and breast cancer and also did not possess any other known markers for these cancers. The study found 39 percent of women in the study possessed the variant.

Other studies have also shown that the variant predicts how well patients respond to standard forms of chemotherapy and the outcome of their disease.

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