Genetic susceptibility to sporadic ovarian cancer: A systematic review

Marieke G. M. Braem, L. J. Schouten, P. H. M. Peeters, P. A. van den Brandt, Charlotte N Onland-Moret*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Web of Science)


Ovarian cancer is a highly lethal disease. Many researchers have, therefore, attempted to identify high risk populations. In this perspective, numerous genetic association studies have been performed to discover common ovarian cancer susceptibility variants. Accordingly, there is an increasing need to synthesize the evidence in order to identify true associations. A comprehensive and systematic assessment of all available data on genetic susceptibility to sporadic ovarian cancer was carried out. The evidence of statistically significant findings was evaluated based on the number of positive replications, the ratio of positive and negative studies, and the false-positive report probability (FPRP). The authors reviewed three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and 147 candidate gene studies, published from 1990 to October 2010, including around 1100 genetic variants in more than 200 candidate genes and 20 intergenic regions. Genetic variants with the strongest evidence for an association with ovarian cancer include the rs2854344 in the RB1 gene and SNPs on chromosomes 9p22.2, 8q24, 2q31, and 19p13. Promising genetic pathways for ovarian cancer include the cell cycle, DNA repair, sex steroid hormone and oncogenic pathway. Concluding, this review shows that many genetic association studies have been performed, but only a few genetic variants show strong evidence for an association with ovarian cancer. More research is needed to elucidate causal genetic variants, taking into consideration gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, combined effects of common and rare variants, and differences between histological subtypes of this cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-146
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta-reviews on Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Ovarian cancer
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Genetic variants
  • Risk assessment
  • Review
  • Polymorphism

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