BRCA1/2 testing rates in epithelial ovarian cancer: A focus on the untested patients

Lieke Lanjouw*, Marian J.E. Mourits, Joost Bart, Arja Ter Elst, Lieke P.V. Berger, Annemieke H. Van Der Hout, Naufil Alam, Geertruida H. De Bock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Since 2015, Dutch guidelines have recommended BRCA1/2 pathogenic variant testing for all patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Recently, recommendations shifted from germline testing to the tumor-first approach, in which tumor tissue is tested first, and subsequent germline testing is performed only in those with BRCA1/2 tumor pathogenic variants or a positive family history. Data on testing rates and on characteristics of patients missing out on testing remain scarce.

Objective: To evaluate BRCA1/2 testing rates in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer and compare testing rates of germline testing (performed from 2015 until mid-2018) versus tumor-first testing (implemented mid-2018).

Methods: A consecutive series of 250 patients diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer between 2016 and 2019 was included from the OncoLifeS data-biobank of the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. Testing rates were analyzed for the overall study population and for germline testing (period I) and tumor-first testing (period II) separately. Characteristics of tested and untested patients were compared and predictors for receiving testing were assessed with multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Median age was 67.0 years (IQR 59.0-73.0) and 173 (69.2%) patients were diagnosed with high-grade serous carcinoma. Overall, 201 (80.4%) patients were tested. In period I, 137/171 (80.1%) patients were tested and in period II this was 64/79 (81.0%). Patients with non-high-grade serous carcinoma were significantly less likely to receive BRCA1/2 testing than patients with high-grade serous carcinoma (OR=0.23, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.46, p<0.001).

Conclusions: The results show that BRCA1/2 testing rates are suboptimal and suggest that clinicians may not be choosing to test patients with epithelial ovarian cancer with non-high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma, although guidelines recommend BRCA1/2 testing in all patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Suboptimal testing rates limit optimization of care for patients with epithelial ovarian cancer and counseling of potentially affected relatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1260-1269
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Cancer
Early online date3-May-2023
Publication statusPublished - 7-Aug-2023


  • BRCA1 protein
  • BRCA2 protein
  • ovarian cancer

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