Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is the biological process that recognises a cell’s DNA has been damaged by cisplatin. For many years the NER proteins have been studied in ovarian cancer response to or resistance to cisplatin. Despite the consistent findings that high or low levels of some NER proteins can predict the effectiveness of cisplatin and cisplatin resistance, the translation of these findings into the clinical setting has not happened. We know what to test and how to test it, but currently clinicians do not use it in the decision process for treating ovarian cancer.
We would like to measure the NER proteins in 500 ovarian cancers where we have the information on wether or not each tumour responded to cisplatin and if it developed resistance. Once we replicate the same results as previous studies, we will have the evidence needed to move onto testing ovarian tumours before the individual receives treatment. By measuring the NER proteins before treatment we will be able to inform the Clinicians if a tumour will or will not respond to cisplatin and if it is likely to develop drug resistance. This will mean toxic chemotherapy treatment will only be given if it has been predicted to be effective. If it is predicted to be non-effective, the patient will not receive chemotherapy and will avoid the unnecessary toxic side effects.