The effectiveness of cancer treatment could be predicted by a gene fault.

According to research presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology, women with faults in a gene known as p53 are 50 per cent less likely to survive following treatment with carboplatin alone.

However, if they are also treated with paclitaxel they tended to be more likely to show survival benefit compared to the standard.

Meanwhile, those without such gene mutations had better survival rates but did not benefit from having paclitaxel added to their treatment, meaning that they can be spared unnecessary side effects.

Professor Hilary Calvert, who led the study, commented: "These results show that ovarian cancer patients whose tumour had a faulty p53 gene survive longer if given paclitaxel in addition to carboplatin.

"Although survival rates have improved dramatically in recent years, ovarian cancer remains a deadly cancer in women and efforts to improve survival by targeting treatments at those most likely to benefit are urgently needed."  

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