The Role Of Epigenetics And BRCA Genes In Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian cancer is amongst the deadliest cancers. It is the most widely recognized gynecological malignancy, third driving after cervical and uterine disease. Momenimovahed et al. (2018) states that it has the most elevated death rate and worst prognosis. While ovarian disease has the lowest prevalence than breast cancer, it is all the more destructive and anticipated to have an expanded death rate by 2040. The high death rate is because of a few elements including asymptomatic and secret development of tumors, postponed onset of symptoms, absence of appropriate screening that cause the diagnosis to be discovered later in the stage of disease. This is the reason ovarian cancer has been named the ‘silent killer’. BRCA genes are one of the risk factors that will be discussed and will shed light on how it can be detected and discovered much earlier on in the stage of the disease and hopefully circumvent the onset of disease.

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The risk factors for ovarian cancer that will be examined are BRCA genes 1 and 2. Zhong et al. (2016) characterizes BRCA1 and BRCA2 as two unmistakable tumor suppressor genes that assume a necessary job in response to cell stress by means of the enactment of DNA repair processes. People with changes in these two genes are at an increased danger of developing breast, ovarian, and different cancers. In further inquiring about the pathogenesis (how the risk factor prompts malignant growth), the National Organization of health (2018) explains, ‘BRCA genes help fix damaged DNA and guarantee the stability of every cells genetic material. In the event that genes are mutated or altered, with the end goal that the protein product isn’t made or does not work effectively, DNA damage may not be fixed appropriately’.

Neff et al. (2017) explains how risky this can be since the ‘procedure of fixing DNA damage is essential in preventing cell death. Both BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes fill in as significant pieces in an enormous structure of repairing atoms’. Neff et al. (2017) found that a one of the most significant alterations to DNA can happen through a double strand break (DSB), which are disturbances in the reading frames of DNA, influenced by ionizing radiation. Whenever left unchecked, it very well may be deadly to a cell. Whenever breaks or interruptions happen, it makes it hard for DNA repair in light of the fact that there is a lack of normal reading frame to fix nucleotides to and they become inclined to mistakes. Neff et al. (2017) further explains that the two instruments for a cell to fix a DSB are non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR). NHEJ makes open ends of DNA to join to binding proteins to balance out and at last reconnect the sides of DNA, however without regard for the reading frame, it can instigate mistakes into the DNA. HR includes fixing an unaltered reading frame. BRCA 1 and 2 genes each assume various exceptional jobs in HR. BRCA 1 is a piece of a bigger complex molecule that surveys the DNA for DSB (double strand break) damage3xs. BRCA 2 includes a more straightforward job in helping RAD51 (protein) complex in connecting to the fixed site.

BRCA genes have been shown to influence epigenetics. As demonstrated above BRCA genes are tumor suppressor genes. Tumor suppressor genes are characterized as genes that code for proteins that direct cell development and avoid the advancement of cancer cells. They inform cells in different ways how to stop dividing, fix damaged DNA in cells that could prompt malignant growth, or dispose of cells in which DNA can’t be fixed. At the point when tumor suppressor genes are altered or inactivated because of mutation, present during childbirth or sometime down the road, proteins become less powerful at controlling cell development and repair. This can prompt uncontrolled growth and improvement of a malignant tumor. This explanation demonstrates how BRCA genes influence epigenetics, consequently for this situation when BRCA genes are inactivated by mutations/inherited they become silenced; affecting their capacity as tumor suppressor genes to repair cells, and growth ends up uncontrolled, which leads to cancer. Newman (2018) describes tumor suppressor genes as ‘brakes on growth’ and ‘epigenetic silencing, that results in turning off of the gene would be in keeping with the inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene like BRCA1”.

The accompanying data will give understanding into the statistics for the risk factor in connection to ovarian cancer. NIH (2018) explains that when certain changes of BRCA 1 and 2 are inherited they can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. A harmful mutation of BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 can be acquired by either mother or father. Every child that inherits the mutation in one of these genes has a 50% of acquiring the mutation. The impacts of these mutations of BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 can even be checked whether the second duplicate is typical. Neff et al. (2017) has discovered discovered that germline mutations (inherited genes) credit a risk related to carriers with development of ovarian carcinomas. The normal total danger of developing ovarian malignancy with a BRCA 1 OR 2 was 39% and 11%. Age in connection to BRCA gene was likewise a factor to such an extent that patients with BRCA 1 over the age of 40 had an expanded risk and BRCA 2 patients had expanded risk over 50 years old. NIH (2018) gauges that 44 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA 1, and 17% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA 2 will develop ovarian malignant growth by the age of 80. Momenimovahed, et al. (2019) found that in spite of the fact that the danger of ovarian malignancy in bearers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is under 3% by the age of 40, this risk increments to 10% by the age of 50. The 10-year danger of developing ovarian malignant growth in people with breast cancer is 12.7% and 6.8% in the carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mjutation. Aggregate danger of ovarian malignant growth up to the age of 80 is 49% in BRCA1 mutation carriers and 21% in BRCA2 mutation carriers. It was additionally found that more than one-fifth of ovarian diseases are because of mutations in tumor suppressor genes, and 65–85% of inherited ovarian tumors result from germline mutations in BRCA genes. In regards to individuals ever experiencing ovarian cancer in their lifetime, it is a 1.3% chance for women.

Methods of detection according to NIH (2018) include genetic screening, i.e., looking at at one’s DNA (blood tests or salivation test), which takes about a month for test outcomes. There are various tests. One of the tests searches for the harmful BRCA1 or 2 genes that have been distinguished in another relative. Different tests check for every harmful mutation in the two genes. There is likewise a multigene panel that utilize next generation sequencing to search for harmful mutations in numerous genes related with the expanded risk for ovarian malignant growth, for example, BRCA 1 and 2. Testing is strongly recommended for those with a family ancestry with the presence of BRCA 1 or 2, or tests a relative who has malignancy. There are likewise extra screening instruments to help in identifying BRCA1 or 2, for example, whether the individual had breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 50 years of age, malignancy in the both breasts in a similar woman, ovarian and breast cancer in a similar woman or a similar family, multiple breast cancers in the family, at least 2 essential kinds of BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 related cancers in a solitary relative, instances of male breast malignant growth, and Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity. NIH (2018) noted however that it isn’t recommended for anyone younger than 18 years of age to get genetic testing, regardless of whether there is a family ancestry of a harmful mutation of BRCA1 or BRCA 2 because of no accessible risk -reduction strategies for children, and that the dangers for children developing a malignant growth type related with BRCA1 or BRCA 2 cancer is very low.

As recently referenced, the BRCA quality is inherited, so there is no prevention of the BRCA gene. There are potential strategies to prevent ovarian cancer. There is a medical procedure called the Salpingo-oophorectomy, which can be performed in BRCA-positive people that decreases the danger of ovarian malignancy by 75%. Since, most epithelial malignant growths begin from the fallopian tube, salpingectomy diminishes the danger of ovarian disease by 35–half.

In researching this topic, it was intriguing to learn how epigenetics affect ovarian cancer and how BRCA genes play a role in repairing damaged DNA. When they are not able to fulfill their role due to inactivation or silencing, it contributes to uncontrolled cell growth and development of a cancerous tumor. While there is nothing to prevent BRCA genes since they are inherited, there are methods of detecting the condition, namely genetic screening. When individuals become aware of their family history of ovarian or breast cancer, they can utilize resources that can empower them and allow them to make informed health care decisions to prevent ovarian cancer. Ensuring access to all women about this screening is necessary and important. Neff et al. (2017) sums it up well, expressing, ‘identification of a BRCA mutation may not only support the afflicted patient, yet additionally takes into account genetic testing to be performed on relatives, taking into consideration the possibility to avoid ovarian malignant growth. There is extraordinary potential to not just counteract numerous cases through improved access to genetic screening, yet additionally reform the long haul treatment of patients with this insidious disease’ 

09 March 2021

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