Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most common cause of gynecological cancer death in the United States, with an estimated 21,290 new cases and 14,180 deaths estimated for 2015 (ACS 2015). The vast majority of women are diagnosed with advanced stage EOC. Current practice consists of aggressive surgical removal of tumors, followed by platinum–taxane based chemotherapy (Muggia 2009). Despite initial aggressive treatment, most tumors recur, and the overall 5-year survival rate is 44% (Siegel, Naishadham, and Jemal 2012).
Emerging knowledge about underlying molecular alterations in ovarian cancer could allow for more personalized diagnostic, predictive, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies. Approximately 10–20% of high grade ovarian cancers are associated with germline mutations in BRCA1/2 (Pal et al. 2005). Somatic alterations in BRCA1/2 and other genes associated with DNA repair are seen in approximately 50% of high grade ovarian cancers (TCGA 2011) and tumors with a ‘BRCAness’ molecular profile are relatively sensitive to treatment with DNA damaging agents cisplatin and PARP inhibitors (Konstantinopoulos et al. 2010).
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