A few days ago the results of a very large study was published. The study by the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study (COGS) involved over 200,000 participants and hundreds of researchers from around the world. Here is a link to the overview article in Nature. It looked at the genetic markers for breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. The study was reported in 13 articles in 5 journals but I concentrated on finding just the ovarian report.
I searched online and found the article "GWAS meta-analysis and replication identifies three new susceptibility loci for ovarian cancer" in Nature Genetics. I looked through the researcher names and out popped Dr Lorna Rodriguez-Rodriguez. I was thrilled to read that one of my gynecologic oncologists at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey was involved in the research. I allowed my tumor to be studied for the clinical trial I participated in so I wonder if my tumor was part of this large genetic analysis. I'll have to ask Dr R the next time I see her.
In a nutshell the Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) found 4 locations in the DNA that were susceptible for epithelial ovarian cancer. All of the locations were associated with the serous type of epithelial Ovarian Cancer ( EOC) . In the discussion of the results the researchers report:
"Molecular analyses of genes at these loci ( Location of a gene), combining publicly available data sets and systematic, large-scale experiments, point to a small number of candidate gene targets that may have a role in EOC initiation and development. However, the effects of the new susceptibility loci were modest, and together they explain less than 1% of the excess familial risk of EOC, with about 4% being explained by all known loci with common susceptibility alleles. " (An allele is one of two versions of a gene.)
"Fewer common susceptibility loci have now been found for EOC than for several other common cancers, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancers28. It seems unlikely that the underlying genetic architecture for EOC susceptibility is substantially different from those of other cancers. This suggests that a key factor limiting our ability to detect susceptibility loci is sample size—the power of this study to detect risk alleles across a range of effect sizes was modest (Supplementary Fig. 12). However, EOC is less common than these other cancers and has a higher mortality rate, and recruiting extremely high numbers of cases will be difficult."
The more tumor samples researchers can examine the more we can learn about how epithelial ovarian cancer develops. Now is the time for more women with all types of ovarian cancer to allow their tumor cells be used for studies like this one.
I've given my tumor tissue to research . Will you?
Every Day is a Blessing