How will my BRCA1/2 status affect my treatment?

It’s useful for your oncology team to know if you have a BRCA1/2 gene mutation so they can take it into account when considering options for your treatment and/or clinical trials.

Currently women with a BRCA1/2 gene mutation are given the same chemotherapy treatment as women without a genetic predisposition and, in some cases, this treatment can be more beneficial to carriers of a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.

For example, BRCA1/2 gene mutation carriers with ovarian cancer receiving standard platinum treatments have higher response rates and longer times to relapse than women with non-hereditary ovarian cancer.

Studies are currently researching how BRCA1/2 gene mutation related tumours respond to both standard treatments and to new agents, which are designed specifically to target the BRCA1/2-mutated cancer cells.

In 2016, a drug called Olaparib was approved for women with a BRCA1/2 gene mutation facing a second recurrence of ovarian cancer. This new class of drug, known as a PARP inhibitor, can delay the progression of the disease by up to two years.

Clinical trials

Once standard treatments have been tried it’s possible that your oncologist will recommend you for a clinical trial. It is also possible that there may be a clinical trial available which is specifically tailored to women with a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.

It is important to note that availability of these trials is patchy so you will need to discuss options with your oncologist.

You can also look online for current trials at: