Women's College Research Institute

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Cognition in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers

We are currently recruiting individuals to participate in a study investigating the effects of prophylactic oophorectomy on cognition over a three-year period. The purpose of this study is to evaluate possible changes in memory and attention and to determine if there is any correlation with another gene, apolipoprotein E (APOE).

This has never been studied before in women with BRCA mutations. Any information gained will contribute to improved care for women with a hereditary predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer as well as providing more information at the time of genetic counseling.

Who Can Participate?
You may be eligible for this study if you:

  • Are a woman between the ages of 30 and 55
  • Have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • Have elected to have a prophylactic oophorectomy and:
    • Are not on hormone replacement therapy
    • Are between six months and seven years post-oophorectomy
  • Have not or not yetelected to have a prophylactic oophorectomy and:
    • Are not on oral contraceptives or other hormonal contraceptives
    • Not taking tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors
    • Not currently pregnant or breast feeding

If I participate, what will be asked of me?
The study involves three appointments, one a year for three years, with a trained research assistant. During this appointment you will be asked to:

  • Complete a questionnaire about your medical history
  • Complete a series of psychometric tests that measure memory and attention
  • Provide a urine sample to determine hormone levels at the time of testing
  • Provide a saliva sample for determining APOE genotype

What is APOE?
APOE is a gene that codes for a lipid carrier protein that works to shuttle lipids in and out of cells all over the body. The gene comes in three forms, E2, E3, E4-all of which are considered normal. We are interested in APOE genotype because it may have some effects on cognition. Because this area of the study is exploratory, the results of APOE testing will not be available to study participants.

Why should I participate in this study?
The information gathered from this study will help researchers and clinicians better understand the long- term effects of prophylactic oophorectomy. This information may be beneficial to you as well as other women who are considering having prophylactic surgery.

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For more information

April Au
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Women's Health
University of Toronto

Phone: (416) 978-6582


Current Studies

Risk Factor Analysis of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

A Study of Familial Breast Cancer in BRCA-Negative Families

A Study of Familial Cancer in Jewish Women - Follow-up

Cognition in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers

  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)