A genetic marker that can help identify the risk of developing ovarian cancer has been discovered by scientists at Yale.
Being able to detect ovarian cancer has always been a challenge for doctors.This new marker is an important step to being able to detect the risk of this deadly cancer before it has a chance to develop.
The Yale scientist team sowed that a KRAS oncogene variant appeared in 25 percent of patients with ovarian cancer. Also, the variant showed up in 61 percent of ovarian cancer patients who had a family history of both, ovarian and breast cancers. This suggests that the KRAS-variant could be a marker on the risk of ovarian cancer for families with a history of the disease, the researchers explained.
Joanne B. Weidhaas, associate professor of therapeutic radiology, researcher for the Yale Cancer Center and co-senior author if this study explained that, "For many women out there with a strong family history of ovarian cancer who previously have had no identified genetic cause for their family's disease; this might be it for them."
"Our findings support that the KRAS-variant is an new genetic marker of ovarian cancer risk." She added.
In their studies, Weidhaas and co-senior author Frank Slack found that six out of 10 women who had no other known ovarian cancer genetic risk markers had the KRAS-variant. These women tend to develop cancer after menopause, unlike women with the BRCA 1 & 2 mutations who develop ovarian cancer at a younger age.
Finding new markers that can detect the risk of cancer can be critical because ovarian cancer is normally very difficult to diagnose and usually found in advanced stages.
The Yale scientists reported their findings on the July 20 edition of the journal Cancer Research.
Testing for the KRAS-variant is currently being offered by MiraDX to patients who have ovarian cancer and to women with a family history for it. MiraDX is a biotechnology company in New Haven who licensed the Yale discovery and is linked to Weidhaas and Slack.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
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