Precision medicine in cancer is the idea that the recognition and targeting of key genetic drivers of a patient’s tumor can permit more effective and less toxic outcomes. Point mutations that alter protein function have been primary targets. Yet in ovarian cancer, unique genetic mutations have been identified only in adult granulosa cell tumors, with a number of other point mutations present in mucinous, clear cell and endometrioid carcinoma subtypes. By contrast, the serous subtype of ovarian cancer shows many fewer point mutations but cascading defects in DNA damage repair that leads to a network of gains and losses of entire genes called somatic copy number alterations. The shuffling and selection of the thousands of genes in serous ovarian cancer has made it a complex disease to understand, but patterns are beginning to emerge based on our understanding of key cellular protein networks that may provide a better basis for future implementation of precision medicine for this most prevalent subtype of disease.
Part of the book: Ovarian Cancer