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Injecting drugs directly into a patient’s abdomen can extend the lives of some women with ovarian cancer, research has shown.

Administering chemotherapy in this way increased survival by an extra three years on average – but only in women with a specific genetic make-up.

Scientists compared the 
survival of 400 women who either had the abdominal injections or had drugs infused into a vein.

The abdominal treatment increased lifespans by an average of 36 months for women with low levels of a protein made by the gene BRCA1, which is linked to ovarian and breast cancer.

The research is published today in the British Journal Of Cancer. Lead author Dr Thomas Krivak, from Magee Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh, US, said: “This research should allow us to target a particular group of ovarian cancer patients and give them an improved outlook by making a very simple change to their treatment.”