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Project lead

This project is led by Professor Charlie Gourley, Professor in Medical Oncology at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre.


The 5th most common cancer is High Grade Serious Ovarian Cancer (HGSOC) and accounts for 70% of all ovarian cancer cases. Prognosis is poor, with 41% of patients surviving to 5 years and 10-15% patients in remission. Current treatments are usually a combination of resective surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy.

The objective

Objectives of this project are three-fold:

  • Firstly to perform sequencing on the tumours of 550 patients with high grade serious ovarian cancer in order to identify HR gene defects. This will inform future studies on the use of PARP inhibitors and if the use of these inhibitors can be extended into a wider group of HGSOC patients. Current prescribing is only for patients having genetic mutations in their germline DNA (no mutation = ineffective drug). This represents about 15% of all HGSOC patients. This study will determine if similar mutations can be identified from the patients’ tumour tissue. It is possible that nearly 35% of patients may have these mutations, and if this is the case, we will seek to extend the licensing for treatment to this group of patients.
  • Secondly, to learn more about rarer mutational events in HGSOC patients and whether these are hereditary in nature.
  • Finally, to use the outcomes to improve and develop standardised approaches to clinical data across Scotland, so that patient outcomes can be robustly monitored.


The core laboratory PMS-IC, academic teams from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow together with NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow, Clyde and NHS Tayside.

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