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BRAF Inhibitors Show Promise for Rare Ovarian Cancer

August 06, 2018

Currently used in melanoma treatment, BRAF inhibitors may also be an effective treatment for women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer with a tumor mutation in the BRAF gene, according to a study published online in JCO Precision Oncology.

Researchers came to their findings after identifying 65 women with low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma and discovering 9 who had a somatic BRAF mutation. Among them, 4 did not respond to conventional chemotherapy.

“Two of these women went into a clinical trial to test BRAF inhibitors, following our research which identified their BRAF mutations,” said PhD student Tania Moujaber, of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia, in a press release. “Both have had excellent, long-lasting responses.”

“In contrast, the other 2 women received standard treatment several years before our analysis, and sadly rapidly deteriorated and died.”

BRAF inhibitors block activity of the mutated BRAF gene and significantly improve survival in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma. In other types of cancers, such as colorectal, however, they are less effective.

In light of the benefit demonstrated in the current study, researchers recommended routine testing for BRAF mutations in women with low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma as well as a future prospective study to formally gauge the clinical response.

“This treatment may not be effective for all cancers with a BRAF mutation,” Moujaber said, “but we are optimistic that a positive response is likely in patients with ovarian cancer.”

Jolynn Tumolo

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