Researchers conducted an analysis that included nearly 10,000 women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutations to estimate the age-specific risk of breast or ovarian cancer for women with these mutations, according to a study published by JAMA.
The optimal clinical management of women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations depends on accurate age specific cancer risk estimates. These can be used to estimate the absolute risk reduction from preventive strategies and to inform decisions about the age at which to begin cancer screening. Antonis C. Antoniou, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge, England, and colleagues included 6,036 BRCA1 and 3,820 BRCA2 female carriers (5,046 unaffected and 4,810 with breast or ovarian cancer or both at study entry) in the analysis.
During a median follow-up of 5 years, 426 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, 109 with ovarian cancer, and 245 with contralateral breast cancer (cancer in the breast opposite to one previously diagnosed with cancer). Among the findings of the researchers:
Limitations of the study include that although there was variation in the cancer risks for mutation carriers by cancer family history, the study sample was not identified through population screening of unaffected women; therefore, the overall estimates may not be directly applicable to such women.
"The results indicate that family history is a strong risk factor for mutation carriers and that cancer risks vary by mutation location, suggesting that individualized counseling should incorporate both family history profiles and mutation location," the authors write.
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