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Joining FORCES is the FORCE newsletter with news, views and supportive information for individuals concerned about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

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Conference Recap: What's New in HBOC Research?

by Lisa Rezende, PhD

Dr. Mark Greene (Clinical Genetics Branch of the National Cancer Institute) presented research from the National Ovarian Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Study (GOG-0199).

The GOG-0199 study asked high-risk women (those with BRCA1/2mutations or a very strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer) to make a choice: either remove their ovaries and fallopian tubes to reduce cancer risk, or undergo enhanced screening using an investigational strategy with CA-125 known as the ROCA model. ROCA follows CA-125 over time to determine whether rising levels can be used to detect ovarian cancer earlier than the standard use of CA-125, which simply classifies each test as normal or abnormal.

The study found that:

  • premenopausal women had higher normal baseline CA-125 levels than postmenopausal women.
  • the upper limit of normal CA-125 for premenopausal women who are not on oral contraceptives is approximately 50 units per milliliter (U/ml).
  • normal CA-125 for postmenopausal women is up to 35 U/ml (the current standard).

Examining tissue from women who underwent risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy showed that:

  • 4% of BRCA mutation carriers unexpectedly had cancer at the time of their surgery.
  • postmenopausal women were more likely to have cancer.
  • 14 of 21 cancers found were early stage (stages 0, 1, or 2).

To hear more, watch on-demand presentations of Dr. Greene and others from “What’s New in HBOC Research” on the FORCE website, including:

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