Ovarian cancer, like most common cancers, tends to cluster in families, a fact that has been recognized since Roman times. Mendelian transmission of ovarian cancer in families was first described in the 1950s and, during the 1960s and 1970s, a variety of hereditary cancer syndromes were defined, including the Lynch syndrome1

which include ovarian cancer as part of the characteristic phenotype. Since then, the genetic basis for many of these families has been identified.