This new test can improve ovarian cancer treatment

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In a study from the University of Helsinki and elsewhere, scientists developed a genetic test that can identify ovarian cancer patients who benefit from PARP inhibitors, a treatment option.

The genetic test helps to identify patients who do not benefit from the drug, thus avoiding unnecessary treatment and the adverse effects associated with the drug.

The test, which has been optimized for the Finnish population, has been clinically approved at HUSLAB and is used to test all patients with ovarian cancer in Finland.

In 2022, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) included PARP inhibitors in its list of drugs for which expenses are reimbursed based on the genetic test.

The prognosis for ovarian cancer is worse than for other gynecological cancers, as the diagnosis is often delayed because of minor and unclear symptoms.

In recent years, the new PARP inhibitors have achieved excellent results as a maintenance treatment for ovarian cancer after surgery and cytostatic therapy in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer.

PARP inhibitor therapy adds disease-free years and extends survival time. Some patients with advanced ovarian cancer could even be considered cured in the future thanks to PARP inhibitors.

In the current study, the new test could reliably identify patients whose tumors have certain gene defects typical of ovarian cancer.

The lesions are caused by a deficiency in the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway (HRD). It is precisely these tumor types that are sensitive to PARP inhibitors.

The results of the study showed that each cancer type is associated with different characteristics of the genetic lesions related to HRD.

In fact, developing a test optimized for ovarian cancer was important for advancing the precision of therapies for the cancer type.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about possible root causes of ovarian cancer, and vitamin D supplements could strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies about how drinking milk affects the risks of heart disease and cancer and results showing why some processed meat is strongly linked to cancer.

The study was conducted by Specialist Anniina Färkkilä et al and published in the journal npj Precision Oncology.

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