A family history of ovarian or breast cancer is the strongest risk factor for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Germline deleterious variants in the BRCA1
genes confer EOC risks by age 80, of 44% and 17% respectively. The mismatch repair genes, particularly MSH2
, are also EOC susceptibility genes. Several other DNA repair genes, BRIP1
, and PALB2
, have been identified as moderate risk EOC genes. EOC has five main histotypes; high-grade serous (HGS), low-grade serous (LGS), clear cell (CCC), endometrioid (END), and mucinous (MUC). This review examines the current understanding of the contribution of rare genetic variants to EOC, focussing on providing frequency data for each histotype. We provide an overview of frequency and risk for pathogenic variants in the known susceptibility genes as well as other proposed genes. We also describe the progress to-date to understand the role of missense variants and the different breast and ovarian cancer risks for each gene. Identification of susceptibility genes have clinical impact by reducing disease-associated mortality through improving risk prediction, with the possibility of prevention strategies, and developing new targeted treatments and these clinical implications are also discussed.
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