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Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium


13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person 13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium presented by the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research in 2020. Our top priority is the health and safety of the researchers, clinicians, and our local community of ovarian cancer survivors who typically attend. We are exploring and hope to instead host a Virtual Ovarian Cancer Research Seminar Series in the form of weekly presentations during September in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Registration is currently closed, and we will not be accepting abstracts. We will make further announcements regarding this decision in the next month.


The 13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium is presented by the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research. The goal of the Symposium is to bring together clinicians and researchers from across many disciplines and institutions worldwide in order to encourage collaborations toward advancing the field of ovarian cancer research. The conference seeks to enhance the understanding and knowledge of ovarian cancer, especially among junior investigators, discuss the most recent innovations in the field of ovarian cancer research, and address pressing concerns of the leaders in the clinical and research community.


Clinical Management for Scientists
Rare Tumors
Model Systems
Prevention and Early Detection
DNA Repair and Mechanisms
Novel Therapeutics

Continuing Medical Education Activity AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM will be available.

For questions, please contact Jackie Lang at Jackie.Lang@swedish.org or 206-215-3118.

Please check back later for details.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Continuing Medical Education (CME)


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education (CME) activities for physicians.


AACR has designated this live activity for a maximum of 16 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Credit certification for individual sessions may vary, dependent upon compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria. The final number of credits may vary from the maximum number indicated above.


Approximately 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. The overall 5-year survival rate is only 46% for ovarian cancer, and the rate is markedly lower for advanced stage cancers. Sadly, the survival rates have only improved slightly over 40 years. While ovarian cancer is the most deadly gynecologic cancer, it is underrepresented in both research funding and research participants. Additionally, complicating the difficulty in diagnosing the disease beyond its physical complexities is that ovarian cancer is a rare disease and many providers will have limited access to information on the signs, symptoms, and latest techniques to diagnose the disease.

In this course, we are addressing major needs in ovarian cancer care and research by educating health care providers and researchers in the latest research on improving treatment, early detection, and prevention, as well as promoting a better understanding of the many diseases under the umbrella of ovarian cancer.

The Planning Committee has designed this event to benefit the following audiences: basic scientists, epidemiologists, clinical scientists, and clinicians as well as geneticists, public health researchers, nurses, and advocates for ovarian cancer research. This conference encourages the collaboration between professionals with a wide variety of expertise including: gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, pathology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, public health, behavioral epidemiology, translational research, patient care, and patient advocacy.

After participating in this CME activity, physicians should be able to:

  • Define cancer control strategies to detect ovarian cancer at the earliest stages and to prevent the disease
  • Identify model systems that best recapitulate ovarian cancer
  • Distinguish the clinical and biological considerations of rare subtypes of ovarian cancer
  • Articulate how DNA Repair and other molecular mechanisms impact ovarian cancer development and treatment
  • Explain the elements of tumor microenvironment and immunology as they contribute to ovarian cancer growth and as possible targets for treatment
  • Identify novel therapies against ovarian cancer and assess the response and resistance of new therapies


It is the policy of the AACR that the information presented at AACR CME activities will be unbiased and based on scientific evidence. To help participants make judgments about the presence of bias, AACR will provide information that Scientific Program Committee members and speakers have disclosed about financial relationships they have with commercial entities that produce or market products or services related to the content of this CME activity. This disclosure information will be made available in the Program/Proceedings of this conference.


This activity is supported by Professional Educational Grants which will be disclosed at the activity.


Please contact the Office of CME at (215) 440-9300 or cme@aacr.org.

Symposium Planning Committee

The purpose of the Symposium Planning Committee is to develop the scope and goals of the 13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium. The members’ collective expertise will inform the selection of invited speakers, the review of submitted abstracts, and the identification of target audience. The Symposium seeks to enhance the understanding and knowledge of ovarian cancer, especially among junior and young investigators, discuss the most recent innovations in the field of ovarian cancer research, and address the pressing concerns among the leaders of the clinical and research community.

Planning Committee Members:

Douglas Levine, MD


Barbara Norquist, MD

Ursula Matulonis, MD

Kunle Odunsi, MD/PhD

Kiran Dhillon, PhD
Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer


Jackie Lang, PhD
Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer


Amy Baran, PhD
American Association for Cancer Research



The Rivkin Center gratefully acknowledges our sponsors for this year’s 13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium. Without their vital underwriting and dedication, this event would not be possible. Thank you!

For more information about sponsoring this year’s event, please review the SPONSORSHIP PACKET or contact Julie Anderson, Development Manager, at (206) 215-6044 or julie.anderson@swedish.org.

Reception Sponsor

Your company name here!

Break Sponsor

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Exhibit Sponsor

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Event Sponsor

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The 13th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium will be held in the heart of beautiful downtown Seattle at: 

808 Howell Street
Seattle, WA 98101

$239 (Single or double occupancy)
$264 (Triple occupancy)
$289 (Quadruple occupancy)
Discounted rate expires on 8/28/2020, or when block sells out.

Reserve online:  https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/SEARS/G-MARI.
Reserve by phone: Call the hotel at 1-(206)-973-1234 and mention Rivkin Center or the Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium to receive discounted rate.


All major airlines provide service into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), located approximately 25 minutes from the Hyatt Regency in downtown Seattle.


Transportation between Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Link Light Rail
The easiest and most economical way to get from the airport to Seattle is on the Link Light Rail. From baggage claim, follow signs to the Link Light Rail. Ticket machines will be on your way to the platform and they accept cash, Visa, or MasterCard. The fare to get from SeaTac Airport to any of the downtown stations is $3. Chose the train heading toward Seattle & University of Washington.
* Note that trains do not run between 1am and 5am on weeknights. See here for hours.

Ride Shares & Taxis
To use a ride share app (Uber, Lyft, or Wingz) to get from SeaTac airport to Seattle, schedule the ride as usual in the app and follow signs to the App Based Ride Share Pick-up Area at the airport. To catch a metered taxi (206-242-6200) or flat rate taxi (206-242-8800), follow signs to Ground Transportation. Taxi fare is approximately $60 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to the Symposium venue.

Transportation within Seattle

Ride Shares & Taxis
Uber and Lyft are very popular in Seattle. Alternatively, traditional taxi services are available: Yellow Cab (206-622-6500), Orange Cab (206-522-8800).

Fare is $2.75 and exact change is required upon boarding. Ask your driver for a transfer ticket which will allow you to use King County Metro bus lines as needed for the next two hours. The “OneBusAway” app provides real time arrival information for buses, the Link Light Rail, and the Streetcar. Each bus should also have arrival times for each route.


September in Seattle is generally pleasant with mild temperatures averaging a perfect 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-21 degrees Celsius. Nestled in the Puget Sound, Seattle offers a wide variety of activities for everyone. Enjoy world-renowned museums, historic Pike Place Market, Western Washington wineries, or explore the outdoors by hiking, biking, boating, or any number of adventuresome ways. Tourism information can be found at experiencewa.com.


Talk to your Family

Talking to your family and identifying cancer in your family tree can be a good indicator of your health risks. Download our Family Tree Worksheet here.  Be sure to include yourself, children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Get Educated

Know your body and be proactive about your health. Learn about your breast and ovarian health. Learn about the risk factors and signs & symptoms for breast and ovarian cancer.

Trusted Healthcare Provider

Having a relationship with a health care provider you know and trust is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your health care. Click here to find a provider

Higher Risk in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population

In the general population, around 1 in 400 people carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. People of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation, making them 10 times as likely to carry a BRCA mutation as someone in the general population. Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have a BRCA mutation then there is a 50% chance of passing the mutation on to your children, whether they are boys or girls. It’s important to note that these mutations significantly increase risk, but are not a guarantee a person will get cancer.

Why is the Ashkenazi Jewish population at higher risk?

Over 90% of the BRCA mutations found in the Jewish community are one of three “founder mutations”. A founder mutation is a specific gene mutation in a population that was founded by a small group of ancestors that were geographically or culturally isolated. Because the population was isolated, the rate of founder mutations in descendants is much higher than it would be if the population were larger and co-mingling with more genetically diverse populations. A large expansion in the population caused the current high frequency of the mutations in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. If you are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, the chance of carrying a BRCA gene mutation compared to the general population is increased tenfold. BRCA mutations can be passed down from either your mother’s or father’s side, and may be associated with any of the following cancers:
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, peritoneal cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colon Cancer

Ready to take action? Knowledge is power. Take this short quiz to be proactive about your health.

Genes 101

Our bodies are made of many tiny building blocks called cells. Our cells contain a copy of our genome – all of the DNA genetic code we inherited from our parents. Our genome is organized into 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from mom and 23 from dad. Each chromosome has hundreds or thousands of genes. Each gene has the instructions to make a protein that may control the structure or function of cells, can determine many things including how tall we are or the color of our eyes. Genes also contain instructions for many things inside of us that we cannot see, such as how our bones are formed or how our heart works. Each gene is made up of molecules called nucleic acids (A, T, C, and G). The specific sequence of the nucleic acids holds the instructions that control all the components and their functions in cells.

If the DNA sequence is changed, like a spelling mistake, the instructions may not make sense. The technical term for this change is “mutation,” meaning there is a change to the usual genetic code that may change the instructions stored in the gene. A mutation in a gene that repairs DNA damage or controls cell growth can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Sporadic vs Hereditary Cancers:

Ovarian and breast cancer can be either sporadic or hereditary. Sporadic cancers make up the vast majority (85-90%) of ovarian and breast cancers and are not associated with family history of either cancer or inherited cancer-associated mutations. Sporadic cancers arise from genetic mutations acquired in some cells of the body by events part of normal metabolism and environmental factors. This type of cancer can happen to anyone. Most acquired gene mutations are not shared among relatives or passed on to children.

Hereditary (also known as inherited, or familial) cancers are those that occur due to genetic mutations that are inherited from mom or dad. Other blood relatives may also share these same gene mutations. Parents give one copy of each gene to their children. If a parent has a genetic mutation in a gene, each of their children have a 50% chance of inheriting that mutation. Therefore, even in families with hereditary cancer, not all family members inherit the mutation that is causing cancer, and their risk of cancer is similar to the average person in the general population. Individuals who are suspected to have a family history with high incidence of ovarian, breast, and other cancers may be offered genetic testing to try to find the specific genetic mutation that may put them at risk. Importantly, individuals who do not have a known genetic mutation but have high incidence of ovarian, breast, or other cancers in their families are still considered at higher risk for developing those cancers.

Hereditary cancers often occur at an earlier age than the sporadic form of the same cancer, so experts often recommend starting cancer screening at a younger age for individuals at high risk for hereditary cancer. Hereditary cancers can also be more aggressive than the sporadic form of the same cancer. Individuals who have inherited a gene mutation may be at a higher risk for more than one type of cancer.

BRCA 1 and BRCA 2: Most Common hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

The genes that are most commonly involved in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are named for their link to breast (BR) cancer (CA), but they are also linked to ovarian cancer risk as well as other cancers. Both women and men can inherit mutations in these HBOC genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes that have a usual role in our body of providing instructions on repairing DNA damage and preventing cancer. When a family has an inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2, this leads to an increase in cancer risk. Not every man or woman who has inherited a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop cancer, but people who have a mutation do have a significanlty increased chance of developing cancer, particularly cancer of the breasts or ovaries.

While breast and ovarian cancers are the most common cancers diagnosed in people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the risk of some other cancers is also increased. Men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of early-onset prostate cancer than men without mutations in either gene. Other cancers seen at increased rates, particularly in individuals with BRCA2 mutations, include pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Researchers are continuing to find new genes that are involved in hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer so it is important to follow up with a genetic counselor on a regular basis if hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is likely in your family.

Talk to your family about your health history and take the Assess Your Risk quiz here