Susan J Ramus, PhD
The University of New South Wales
Genetic susceptibility to non-high grade serous ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer consists of five distinct types of cancers that have different clinical characteristics, patient outcomes, and even begin in different nearby organs. They have different changes in the DNA of the tumor cells which affect the biology of tumor. Most research focuses on the common subtype called high grade serous. Very few studies focus on the 35% of women who have “non-high grade serous” types, resulting in decreased opportunities for those women. Genetic changes in genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are important in high grade serous cases, allowing better treatment options, family testing, and preventive surgery. While research continues to uncover new genes linked with high grade serous, little is known about genes linked with non-high grade serous ovarian cancer. Dr. Ramus will use large numbers of non-high grade serous cases, from an international collaboration, to identify similar types of genes, in this understudied ovarian cancer subtype. She and her colleagues will identify a group of 30 genes from available data and look for differences between 2,000 non-high grade serous cases and 1,000 healthy individuals without cancer. Understanding the genetics of non-high grade serous ovarian cancer can have significant clinical impact for women affected by those cancers and may lead to opportunities for prevention and improved treatment.