Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study looking at family history and ovarian cancer (the familial ovarian cancer register or FOCR)
This study was looking at families affected by ovarian cancer to find out more about factors that could increase the risk of the disease.
Ovarian cancer that runs in families is sometimes called
This study started in 1991 as the UKCCCR study of familial ovarian cancer. It later became the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Register (FOCR). It has collected information from a large number of families where at least 2 people have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The researchers collected medical information and family history details. They also collected blood and tissue samples from some of the people who took part.
The general aim of the study was to look at familial factors that might be important in increasing the risk of ovarian cancer.
Summary of results
More than 1,200 women from about 400 families have taken part since the study started.
The research team found a change to the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene in about half the families they tested. But it has not been possible to test all the families on the register.
They have used the information gathered to help them estimate
- The risk of ovarian and breast cancer in women with a strong family history
- The risks of other types of cancer in families who have an altered BRCA gene
Following up the families for longer will help them to fine tune these risks. The researchers will also continue to look for new genes that are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr P Pharoah
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
University of Cambridge