This site is intended for health professionals only

Cancer gene breakthrough announced

An aggressive ovarian cancer develops because of a genetic fault, scientists have claimed.

Researchers were looking into how much the TP53 gene influences the rate of survival, and how patients respond to treatment, and discovered that the gene's faults were present in the more aggressive forms of the cancer.

The disease kills around 4,300 women in the UK annually.

The team was investigating the effect of TP53 on serious ovarian cancer - the most common among women in the UK. Samples of tumours with the TP53 gene with aggressive ovarian cancer were analysed. The samples were taken from 145 women participating in the large-scale Australian Ovarian Cancer Study.

The majority of the women's TP53 gene were found to have a fault, leading to the conclusion that the mutations are crucial in the ovarian cancer's development. The highest known rate of TP53 faults of any solid tumour is found in woman with aggressive ovarian cancers, the researchers said.

Lead author Dr James Brenton said: "We now want to look at how we can target this fault with new treatments for aggressive ovarian cancers."

Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute conducted the research, the findings of which appeared in the Journal of Pathology.

To view our interesting new guide to counselling your patient as part of the Nursing in Product Outreach Programme, click here

Australian Ovarian Cancer Study