Email Women who carry a faulty copy of a gene called RAD51D have an almost one in 11 chance of developing ovarian cancerscientists said on Sunday in a finding they called the most significant ovarian cancer gene discovery for more than 10 years. Tests to identify those at highest risk are expected to be available within a few years, according to Cancer Research UK, and may lead some women to decide to have their ovaries removed in order to beat the disease.
The finding should also speed the search for new drugs.
Data released in May showed that one of these, AstraZeneca's olaparib, was able to slow the progression of ovarian cancer in a mid-stage clinical trial. For the latest study, researchers from Britain's Institute of Cancer Research compared the DNA of women from families with ovarian and breast cancer to DNA from a control group of more than 10, people from the general population.
They found eight faults in the RAD51D gene in women with cancer, compared with only one in the control group. Ovarian cancer can remain hidden for a long time and thus is often not ovarian cancer how is it diagnosed until it is advanced.
An estimatedwomen worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Most are not diagnosed before the cancer has spread, and up to 70 percent of them die within five years. Because of this, Rahman said, women with the faulty gene may decide their best option is to have their ovaries removed after they have children -- particularly if they have already seen other family members die of the disease.
Initial tests in the laboratory found that cells with faulty RAD51D were highly sensitive to this class of drugs.