Question asked by: 
Anonymous
Date asked: 
Sep 2018

Does having a BRCA gene mutation (or any other faulty genes) mean your cancer is more or less likely to return?

Does having a gene mutation affect how likely the cancer is to return?
An individual woman’s prognosis cannot be accurately predicted from information such as whether she has a gene mutation or not.
Response by Mr Adam Rosenthal, Guest Expert, Ask the Experts Conference 2018
Mr Adam Rosenthal

Evidence suggests that high grade serous ovarian cancer in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation has a better prognosis than that type of ovarian cancer in women without a BRCA mutation. This is probably due to differences in the sensitivity of the tumour to platinum-based chemotherapy (BRCA-carriers are more likely to respond well to this type of chemo).

This information comes from studies of large numbers of women with ovarian cancer, and so an individual woman’s prognosis cannot be accurately predicted from information such as whether she is a BRCA-carrier or not.

Other faulty genes (such as those which cause Lynch syndrome) may also cause better-prognosis ovarian cancers by different mechanisms to BRCA1 and BRCA2. Data on the more recently discovered rarer inherited ovarian cancer-causing genes (BRIP1, RAD51C, RAD51D) is currently too limited to know if these genes affect prognosis.