Men with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at greater risk of breast cancer than the general population.
Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all breast cancers in the U.S., and it is most common in men with a family history of the disease. Previous studies have shown that men who carry mutations in the BRCA2 gene have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than men in the general population.
The association between BRCA1 mutations and breast cancer in men was less clear.
Sining Chen, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Genetics Network on 1,939 families including 97 men with breast cancer.
The risk of developing breast cancer was higher in male BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, compared with noncarriers, but BRCA2 mutation carriers had the highest risk. The relative risk was greatest for men in their 30s and 40s and decreased with age. The estimated breast cancer risk of a 70 year old male BRCA2 mutation carrier was 6.8 percent, compared with 1.2 percent for BRCA1 mutation carriers.
"Such risk estimates are important for determining appropriate risk management strategies for the male members of families with germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2," the authors write.
Materials provided by Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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