The genetics of ovarian cancer

Approximately 5 to 10 percent of ovarian cancers are due to known predisposing genetic factors. This statistic means that the majority of ovarian cancers are, in fact, not inherited. Of those cases of ovarian cancer that are inherited:

  • 70 percent are due to mutations in the BRCA1 gene
  • 20 percent are due to mutations in the BRCA2 gene
  • 2 percent are due to mutations in the genes that cause Lynch syndrome, also known as HNPCC (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer)
  • 8 percent are due to other genes

There are several genetic syndromes associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer that require clinical care by a physician or other health care professional. Below are some of these syndromes for which brief overviews are available at the links at left.

To make an appointment with a genetic counselor to discuss your cancer risk, contact VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center's Familial Cancer Clinic at (804) 828-7999.