Peritoneal carcinoma in women with genetic susceptibility: Implications for Jewish populations

Murray Casey, Chhanda Bewtra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Women from families with multiple cases of breast and ovarian cancer, specifically those who carry cancer-associated mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2 are at increased life-time risk for peritoneal carcinoma, even after previous surgery to remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Hereditary breast-ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome and the associated BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are particularly prevalent in women of Jewish lineage, and specific BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutations have been linked with peritoneal carcinoma and HBOC syndrome in Jewish populations, especially those of Ashkenazi descent. This review presents the currently available data and looks forward toward further and better understanding of peritoneal carcinoma in women with inherited susceptibility. Over 90% of peritoneal cancer in patients from HBOC syndrome kindreds and associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are serous carcinomas, which is equivalent with the proportion of ovarian cancers that are serous carcinomas in similar patients. The best indications are that while many peritoneal carcinomas in genetically susceptible women may arise directly from malignant transformation of the peritoneum, others might represent metastases from primary ovarian or fallopian tube carcinomas. Although the incidence of borderline ovarian tumors may not be increased in HBOC syndrome kindreds and those who carry cancer-associated BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, these individuals could be susceptible to malignant transformation of borderline lesions of the ovaries and peritoneum. Moreover, recent reports raise the question of possibly increased risk in Jewish carriers of germline BRCA1 mutations for uterine papillary serous carcinoma, which could be the source of metastasis to the peritoneum in some cases. The penetrance of cancer-associated BRCA1 mutations for ovarian cancer is estimated to be 11%-54%, and for BRCA2 mutations the penetrance for ovarian cancer is 11%-23%. So far, available screening methods appear to be insufficient for early detection of many ovarian cancers. Prophylactic oophorectomy has been found to reduce the risk for ovarian cancer in women from HBOC kindreds and those who carry cancer-associated BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, leaving a residual risk for peritoneal carcinomatosis of well less than 5%. Therefore, surgical removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus, after child-bearing has been completed and by early in the fifth decade of life, are appropriate prophylactic procedures in women whose genetic susceptibility puts them at increased risk for cancers of mullerian tract origin, including ovarian and fallopian tube carcinomas and possibly serous carcinoma of the uterus. Hysterectomy, as well as salpingo-oophorectomy, removes the gynecologic organs targeted for malignant transformation in genetically susceptible women and simplifies decisions regarding hormone replacement therapy and chemical prophylaxis and treatment of breast cancer. Unless a transabdominal operative approach is otherwise indicated, laparoscopic-assisted transvaginal techniques are well suited for intra-abdominal exploration, cytology, biopsies and prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy in women with hereditary susceptibility to gynecologic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
JournalFamilial cancer
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 24 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Peritoneal carcinoma in women with genetic susceptibility: Implications for Jewish populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this