As part of an ongoing series of answers to common questions received by the Basser Center for BRCA, Executive Director Susan Domchek, MD, discusses BRCA-related ovarian cancer risk and management options, such as recent research into fallopian tube removal.
Dr. Domchek: The understanding that a large number of ovarian cancers may arise in the fallopian tubes has given a lot of interest to the potential that one could remove the fallopian tubes and leave the ovaries in place, and still potentially decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. And this is extremely exciting and we certainly hope that the data demonstrates its safety. However at the current time, the standard of care is still that women remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries by 35 or 40 for BRCA1 and at 40 or 45 for BRCA2. There are ongoing studies, such as the WISP Study, that is investigating the issue of fallopian tube only removal. And at this time, it needs to be carefully discusses with patients' providers about the risks and benefits to these various approaches. But again, we're very enthusiastic that as we develop data, that we may have some different approaches to management apart from early removal of the ovaries, although that remains the standard of care right now.