KRAS is a known cancer-causing gene, linked with lung, pancreatic and colorectal cancer, as well as leukemia. A study published in PLoS One has also linked a variant of the gene with ovarian and breast cancer, finding it in almost half of women with both cancers (known as double primary disease). This disrupts the binding of microRNA (miRNA), and it could have potential as a biomarker.
Yale University researchers found the variant form of KRAS in 39 percent of women with both ovarian and breast cancer, and in 48 percent of women with two breast cancers plus ovarian cancer.
"This is more confirmatory evidence that this genetic test could aid women at risk of developing ovarian cancer by allowing them to make informed decisions about their health," said Joanne B. Weidhaas, a study author and associate professor of therapeutic radiology who led the team that originally discovered the KRAS-variant.
A previous study from Yale tagged a KRAS-variant as a predictor for worse outcomes and resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer but another cast doubt on the connection. This study validates the link, strengthening the case that it could be used to predict outcomes in ovarian cancer.