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BRCA-associated cancers may respond better to certain chemotherapies such as platinum-based therapies. Platinum-based drugs (such as carboplatin and cisplatin) damage the DNA in cancer cells. Our cells use BRCA1 and BRCA2 to repair damage to our DNA. Cancer cells in people with BRCA mutations have problems repairing DNA already, and platinum chemotherapy can make that worse.
Researchers are looking at whether platinums may work better than other types of chemotherapy for mutation carriers. Platinum therapies are used as standard first-line treatment for ovarian cancer but they are not usually used for breast cancer. A clinical trial known as the INFORM Study is looking at whether women with mutations who are newly-diagnosed with breast cancer respond better to platinum therapy compared with other chemotherapy. Results of this study could help us better understand the best chemotherapy treatment for BRCA-associated cancers.