Roswell Park Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry Data Link Ovarian and Testicular Cancer

Men with testicular cancer more likely to have female relatives with ovarian cancer
Monday, March 5, 2018
  • A slide depicting ovarian cancer tumor cells. Credit: NCI Visuals
    A slide depicting ovarian cancer tumor cells. Credit: NCI Visuals
Highlights: 
Men with testicular cancer more likely to have a mother with ovarian cancer
Association may be attributable to a gene on the X chromosome
First study linking testicular cancer with familial ovarian cancer

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Testicular cancer is rare, affecting about 1 of every 250 males, but it is one of the most common malignancies among younger men aged 15 to 44 years. Using data from a large ovarian cancer registry, a research team from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center uncovered a link between testicular cancer and familial ovarian cancer that may be attributable to genetic factors on the X chromosome.

The Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry at Roswell Park was established in 1981 and contains clinical and epidemiological information from 2,636 families with multiple cases of ovarian cancer. This rare but potentially deadly type of cancer, which has been called the “silent killer,” is often diagnosed too late, because its symptoms are vague and often go unnoticed. The overall goal of this registry is to identify all of the genes responsible for ovarian cancer development so that women who are genetically predisposed to the disease can be identified and monitored carefully.

Dr. Kirsten Moysich

Using Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry data, the Roswell Park investigators took a closer look at the family histories of 34 men with testicular cancer who were in the registry. These men with testicular cancer were more likely than men with other cancers to have a mother or sister with ovarian cancer. None of the men with testicular cancer who were included in the registry had a paternal grandmother with ovarian cancer, lending support to the theory that the genes driving testicular cancer development may be X-linked.

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to report such an association between familial ovarian and testicular cancers,” says John Lewis Etter, MPH, the study’s first author. “The Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry is the largest registry of familial ovarian cancers of its kind and quite possibly the only resource with a sample size large enough to identify an association between these two types of cancer.”

“This is particularly interesting given that our research group has recently reported evidence for an X-linked gene that predisposes women to ovarian cancer,” adds Kirsten Moysich, PhD, MS, Distinguished Professor of Oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park and the study’s senior author. “Our research group has begun conducting follow-up studies aimed at better understanding this association, its genetic basis and its potential impact on our understanding, prevention and treatment of these diseases.”

Based on the results of this study, the Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry will now include all patients with at least one case of testicular cancer and re-contact existing families to update their information. Although more studies are needed to further explore the link between testicular and ovarian cancers, this registry may provide new insight into the etiology and transmission of both cancers and identify gene targets for prevention and therapy.

The study, “Hereditary association between testicular cancer and familial ovarian cancer: A Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry study,” was published in Cancer Epidemiology and is available at sciencedirect.com.

The Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry is funded by donations to Roswell Park, including contributions made through events such as The Ride For Roswell and Bald For Bucks. For more information, go to ovariancancer.com.

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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@roswellpark.org.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org