Ovarian Cancer Canada

Western Regional Blog – BC, YK, AB, NWT and Nunavut

Risk Management Options Elected by Women Testing BRCA-Positive

*Although 75% of women with BRCA1/2 mutations underwent risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy during follow-up, only 17% underwent the procedure prior to the NCCN recommended age of 40 years.

Furthermore, although compliance with surveillance strategies with pelvic ultrasound and CA 125 was initially high, it dropped dramatically as soon as 1 year out.

*Based on this retrospective analysis, compliance with NCCN recommended risk-reducing strategies in women with BRCA1/2 mutations is low and is an area for improved standardization in this high-risk patient population. – Richard Tully, MD

Gynecol. Oncol 2013 Dec 16;[EPub Ahead of Print], C Garcia, J Wendt, L Lyon, J Jones, RD Littell, MA Armstrong, T Raine-Bennett, CB Powell






To assess uptake of risk-reducing options for management of ovarian and breast cancer risk in BRCA mutation carriers in a large community based integrated health system in Northern California.


A retrospective cohort of deleterious BRCA mutation carriers (1995–2012) was evaluated for consistency with NCCN guidelines for risk reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) by age 35–40, risk reducing mastectomy (RRM), as well as surveillance practices, including pelvic ultrasound, CA125, mammogram, and breast MRI. Secondary outcomes included use of chemoprevention and hormone replacement.


Of the 305 eligible women, 170 were BRCA1 positive, and 135 were BRCA2 positive. Seventy-four percent underwent RRSO with only 17% under age 40, while 44% underwent RRM. The median time from test to both RRSO and RRM was 6 months. In the first year after BRCA diagnosis, 45% underwent a pelvic ultrasound, dropping to 2.3% by year 5. In year 1, 47% had a CA 125, dropping to 2% by year 5. The number of women undergoing annual MRI and mammogram fell similarly over time.

Sixteen percent of BRCA carriers used oral contraceptives (OCP) and only one patient used tamoxifen for chemoprevention.


Uptake of RRSO in BRCA carriers in a population based health system is high, however the majority of women do not have RRSO by the NCCN recommended age. Compliance with surveillance is low and rapidly declines even 1 year out from testing. Attention needs to be focused on earlier identification of BRCA mutation carriers with consolidated and standardized care to improve risk reduction.


This entry was posted on January 16, 2014 by in Research Updates and tagged , , , , .

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