Value of testing for homologous recombination repair deficiency in newly diagnosed advanced-stage epithelial ovarian cancer: Recommendations for Belgian physicians

BJMO - volume 17, issue 2, march 2023

C. Gennigens MD, PhD, H. Denys MD, PhD, S. Altintas MD, PhD, J. Kerger MD, J-F. Baurain MD, PhD, V. Bours MD, PhD, S. Henry MD, K. Van de Vijver MD, PhD, D. Lambrechts PhD, I. Vergote MD, PhD


Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most frequent form of OC, a disease with a poor prognosis and high lethality, as most patients are diagnosed at advanced stages. To successfully battle EOC, it is crucial to identify reliable biomarkers and use personalised therapies in patient subgroups. A common feature of high-grade serous and endometrioid OC is homologous recombination repair deficiency (HRD), which frequently stems from the inactivation of the breast cancer susceptibility (BRCA) genes. Poly-(adenosine diphosphate [ADP])-ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) were, therefore, developed for their lethality against HRD tumour cells. While patients with non-HRD tumours may also benefit from PARPi therapy in the recurrent EOC setting, recent phase III trials on newly diagnosed advanced-stage EOC have shown that PARPi treatment benefit is greater in patients with HRD tumours. These findings open new avenues for the use of PARPi as maintenance therapy in HRD-positive patients who had received first-line chemotherapy. This manuscript provides recommendations for Belgian physicians on how to approach HRD testing and incorporate it into treatment decisions of patients with newly diagnosed advanced-stage EOC.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2023;17(2):38–45)

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Should tumour infiltrating lymphocytes and PIK3Ca mutation be added as markers to the histology report for breast cancer?

BJMO - volume 11, issue 1, february 2017

P. Vuylsteke MD, J.C. Goeminne MD, S. Henry MD, V. Vanhaudenarde MD, B. Willemart MD, P. Marchettini MD, D. Taylor MD


Tumour infiltrating lymphocytes are a sign of immune mediated reaction of the host against the tumour. They are considered as a positive prognostic marker and may also have a predictive role for the use of certain therapies. The challenge remains to convert tumours with low tumour infiltrating lymphocytes into tumours with high tumour infiltrating lymphocytes in order to enhance the immune mediated effect of therapies.

PIK3Ca mutation is one of the most frequent mutations encountered in breast cancer, particularly in hormone receptor positive cancer in which it can confer resistance to hormonal therapy. Therefore, a lot of effort has been made to target the PI3K-pathway with drugs, and to find a way to predict their efficacy: some results have been achieved; in particular with the detection of PIK3Ca in circulating DNA, but many questions still remain. This article provides an overview concerning these two biomarkers, and attempts to determine whether they could be used in clinical practice today.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2017;11(1):7–11)

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New medical treatments in thyroid cancer

BJMO - volume 8, issue 3, july 2014

L. Decoster MD, PhD, F. Cornélis MD, E. Joosens MD, S. Henry MD, P. Specenier MD, PhD, P. Clement MD, PhD, On behalf of the Thyroid Task Force of the BSMO

Thyroid cancers are rare diseases and include types that range from indolent localised differentiated carcinomas to fulminant and lethal anaplastic disease. Until recently, treatment options for advanced or metastatic radio-iodine refractory thyroid cancer were limited. Recently kinase inhibitors targeting angiogenesis and other pathways have shown promising activity.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2014;8(3):81–6)

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