The PROTECTOR study - Barts Charity
Clinical Research Facility at The Royal London Hospital


This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month we revisit the PROTECTOR study. This study aims to find a better way to treat women at risk of ovarian cancer.

  • Date: March 30, 2022

A trailblazing study into ovarian cancer

In 2017, Barts Charity awarded £494,000 for a trailblazing study benefiting women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer. The PROTECTOR study, which stands for Preventing Ovarian Cancer through early Excision of Tubes and late Ovarian Removal, has recruited over 500 patients in its first 4 years.

Very little funding is directed toward the prevention of ovarian cancer, making this study an important step in advancing the care women receive. Barts Charity is proud to fund much-needed research that will hopefully improve the lives of high-risk women.

Historically under-funded research

The study is led by Professor Ranjit Manchanda of the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London. Professor Manchada said: “This study was the first of its kind and it will answer some very important questions about the best way to prevent ovarian cancer. I am so grateful for the ongoing support of Barts Charity as ovarian cancer research is very under-funded.”

Professor Ranjit Manchanda of the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London.

Prevention in high-risk women 

Two-thirds of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are diagnosed too late and the cancer has already spread. Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis to receive because most cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage and outcomes are often poor.

There is no ovarian cancer screening test that has been proven to be effective. Ovarian cancer is often described as a ‘hidden’ cancer because many women do not experience symptoms until the disease has already spread within the body. We have only seen minor changes in ovarian cancer survival over the last 30 years, making prevention in high-risk women extremely important.

Avoiding negative side-effects

Currently, most women are treated by surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, either given alone or in combination. All of these treatments have disadvantages; surgery can result in premature menopause and chemotherapy may cause many distressing side-effects. The surgical method of treatment, the removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, is the best way to prevent ovarian cancer in high-risk women.

The PROTECTOR study aims to prevent women from dealing with these negative side-effects by removing only the fallopian tubes and leaving the ovaries in place. The study hopes to see how far the risk of ovarian cancer might be reduced using this method.

Sign up for the study

The PROTECTOR study is still recruiting patients. You can read more about the study and how to enroll here.

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