PROTECTOR: Preventing ovarian cancer through early excision of tubes and late ovarian removal (PROTECTOR) study
Who can take part
Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.
Women may be able to participate if they:
- are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer because they carry an alteration/fault in one of the ovarian cancer genes like BRCA1, BRCA2, RAD51C, RAD51D, or BRIP1 or because they have a strong family history that puts them at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer
- are aged 30 years and over and have not gone through the menopause
- have completed their family and are choosing to undergo an operation to prevent ovarian cancer.
Women may also take part if they are not currently planning to have an operation to reduce their risk (control arm).
About the trial
For a woman who is at increased of developing ovarian cancer, the standard practice is to offer an operation to remove both tubes and ovaries. This is undertaken after a woman has completed her family. It's called 'risk reducing salpingo oophorectomy' or RRSO. (Salpingo-oophorectomy means removing tubes and ovaries.)
Removing both tubes and ovaries (RRSO) at present is the most effective or best way we have to prevent ovarian cancer in women who are at increased risk.
It's now well established that a large proportion of ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tube. A number of experts believe that removing the fallopian tubes alone would provide some protection from getting ovarian cancer. This may be particularly helpful for those women who wish to avoid or delay menopause. Women who just have their fallopian tubes removed (risk reducing early salpingectomy) will need to have a second operation at a later date to remove their ovaries (delayed oophorectomy). This can be done once the woman reaches the menopause or at a date closer to the menopause whenever the woman wishes.
This study aims to assess the impact on women of a new two-step option to prevent ovarian cancer.
Women who enter the study will be offered three options for treatment:
- Risk reducing early salpingectomy and delayed oophorectomy
- Standard surgery (oophorectomy and salpingectomy at same time)
- No operation
Both operations are usually carried out by keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) under general anaesthesia.
The study assesses women's views and the impact of this approach to prevent ovarian cancer on:
- sexual function
- hormone levels
- quality of life and overall satisfaction'
This video produced by the trial team has more information about the trial.