The following article features coverage from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology 2020 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Results of a retrospective analysis of real-world clinical data from patients with ovarian cancer showed a temporal trend for increased rates of BRCA testing in the setting of ovarian cancer, although BRCA testing rates remained suboptimal. These findings were accepted for presentation at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer and released on March 28, 2020.

The presence of a deleterious hereditary (ie, germline) mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 has long been recognized as having important implications for both patients with ovarian cancer and their families. In addition, both germline and somatic (ie, acquired; tumor-only) mutations in BRCA are increasingly being viewed as biomarkers of response to particular therapies, such as platinum-based chemotherapy and poly ([ADP]-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, for patients with ovarian cancer. However, real-world data related to BRCA testing in the setting of ovarian cancer are limited.

This study examined the rates of germline and somatic BRCA testing performed in women diagnosed with ovarian cancer between January 2011 through May 2018 by accessing deidentified patient information included in the Flatiron Health database that were abstracted from electronic health records. Inclusion criteria included receipt of frontline therapy and availability of at least 1 year of follow-up data.

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Of the 1921 patients included in the analysis for the overall study period, 69% had documentation of BRCA testing. In the subgroup of patients who had undergone BRCA testing, germline BRCA testing, somatic BRCA testing, and more than 1 BRCA test was performed in 68%, 9%, and 30%, respectively.

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A notable increase in BRCA testing occurred from 2011 to 2018 with only 25% of patients receiving any BRCA test (23% germline BRCA; 1% somatic BRCA) in 2011 while 69% of patients underwent BRCA testing (61% germline BRCA; 20% somatic BRCA) in 2018.

While most BRCA testing was performed prior to or during the administration of frontline therapy, 16% of patients treated with second-line therapy and 12% of patients receiving third-line therapy underwent BRCA testing during these treatments.

In their concluding remarks, the study authors commented that “further studies are warranted to understand predictors of BRCA testing, the optimal testing sequence and implications of testing on disease progression, treatment sequencing, and response.”

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of SGO 2020 by visiting the conference page.


Meyer L, Wright JD, Downer MK, et al. Patterns and adoption of BRCA testing in ovarian cancer in the real world: observations from Flatiron Health. Submitted to: Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) 2020 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. Abstract 113.