Review Article

BRCA-Related Ovarian Cancers and the Role of PARP Inhibitor Therapy

Leigha Senter, MS, LGC, and Paula Anastasia, RN, MN, AOCN®

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Authors’ disclosures of potential conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Paula Anastasia, RN, MN, AOCN®, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. E-mail:

J Adv Pract Oncol 2017;8:22–35 | | © 2017 Harborside Press®



Significant progress has been made in the management of hereditary ovarian cancer, given advancements in genetic screening, risk assessment, and treatments. Women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome, which is caused by inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) tumor suppressor genes, have an increased lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as several other malignancies. Management of HBOC-related cancer risk is characterized by early and aggressive cancer surveillance and by risk-reducing surgeries such as mastectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Advanced practitioners should be aware of current recommendations for genetic counseling and testing for all women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, and/or peritoneal cancers. Women with high-grade serous recurrent ovarian cancer bearing BRCA1/2 mutations in their germline and/or tumor tissue may be candidates for treatment using poly (adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors such as olaparib (Lynparza), rucaparib (Rubraca), and niraparib (Zejula). To provide personalized care to patients with ovarian cancer, it is critical for clinicians to be aware of the options for assessment of BRCA mutation status, as well as treatment implications and related side effects for these patients. 

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