Close up of a cup of tea with two women talking in the background at a Target Ovarian Cancer support event

PROTECTOR: A study looking at surgical options for preventing ovarian cancer

Trial at a glance

Open trial

  • Treatment stage: Prevention or diagnosis
  • Acronym: PROTECTOR

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.

You may be able to take part in this clinical trial if you:

  • 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, BRIP1, or PALB2 OR
  • have a strong family history that puts them at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer OR
  • have completed cancer treatment more than 6 months ago (mostly breast cancer patients)
  • 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 or are planning to conceive using IVF

You may also take part if you are not currently planning to have an operation to reduce your risk (control arm).

This is not an exhaustive list. If you're interested in participating in a clinical trial, you should speak to your doctor about what other criteria might apply.

About the trial


For a woman who's at increased of developing ovarian cancer, the standard practice is to offer an operation to remove both tubes and ovaries (risk reducing salpingo oophorectomy' or RRSO). Removing both tubes and ovaries (RRSO) is at present the most effective or best way we have to prevent ovarian cancer in women who are at increased risk. This is done after a woman has completed her family.

It's now well known that a large number of ovarian cancers actually start in the fallopian tube. It's believed that removing the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy) 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:

  1. Risk reducing early salpingectomy and delayed oophorectomy
  2. Standard surgery (oophorectomy and salpingectomy at same time)
  3. No operation

Both operations are usually carried out by keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) under a general anaesthetic.

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:

This information was last reviewed on 12/01/2024. Please note that the status of clinical trials can change at short notice. You should always check with your clinical team which trials may be suitable for your situation.




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