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Study shows no increased risk of breast cancer for non-carriers in families with BRCA gene mutation
Date:10/31/2011

lia (799) and Canada (1,034) through a consortium called the Breast Cancer Family Registry. They found 292 families in which a woman had a BRCA mutation. This is the largest analysis to date of breast cancer risk of non-carriers of family-specific BRCA mutations.

They compared the risk of breast cancer among first-degree relatives of breast cancer patients who did and did not carry a BRCA mutation and found no significant difference. This means that non-carriers of a familial BRCA mutation did not have a markedly elevated risk of developing breast cancer.

The investigators also found that a small percentage of women - 3.4 percent of women in the general populations of Australia, Canada and the U.S. - who are at highest risk for unexplained reasons (reasons other than a BRCA mutation) account for approximately 32 percent of all breast cancer cases, reflecting the wide range of factors that could play a role in breast cancer development. Recent research suggests that many different genetic variants affect breast cancer risk, and that the women at highest risk have inherited many of these variants.

"Earlier reports of higher risk among non-carriers of family-specific BRCA mutations compared to risks in the general population may reflect a comparison of women with and without a family history of breast cancer," noted senior author Alice Whittemore, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Stanford University School of Medicine. "The control group we used - relatives of breast cancer patients in families without a BRCA mutation - was important. The results suggest that women who test negative for their family's BRCA mutation have no greater breast cancer risk than a woman who also has relatives with breast cancer but no family-specific mutation."


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Contact: Nicole Fernandes
nicole.fernandes@asco.org
571-483-1354
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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