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Breast Cancer Gene Puts Survivors at Higher Odds for Recurrence

December 8, 2011
By

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) — Breast cancer survivors
carrying specific genetic mutations, known as BRCA1 or BRCA2, have a 10
percent greater risk for developing cancer in their other breast, and the
risk rises further when a woman receives her first diagnosis before age
40, new research suggests.

“Our studies show that certain subgroups of women [with this mutation]
who have already had cancers are also at risk for developing a second new
cancer in their other breast, much more so than survivors who do not carry
the mutation,” Alexandra van den Broek, a doctoral candidate at the
Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, said in a news release from the
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

For the study, the researchers analyzed information on about 5,000
women diagnosed with cancer in one of their breasts. Of these, 4.2 percent
were carriers of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and were followed for about
eight years on average. The investigators found that 8.6 percent of these
women developed cancer in their other breast.

Overall, the 10-year risk of developing this new cancer among women who
did not carry the mutation was 6 percent compared with 17.9 percent for
those who did carry the mutation, the study revealed.

The 10-year risk jumped to 26 percent among carriers who were diagnosed
with their first breast cancer before the age of 40 years. For women
diagnosed between ages 40 and 50, the risk was 11.6 percent.

Women who carried the BRCA mutation and whose first tumor was
“triple-negative” had a new-cancer risk of 19 percent within the next 10
years, compared with 11 percent for other women with the BRCA mutation. A
triple-negative tumor is one that has none of the three receptors —
estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth
factor receptor 2 (HER2) — that occur in most breast cancers.

“Guidelines for prophylactic measures and screening in the follow-up of
patients with breast cancer carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation are
important to provide patients with the best information and counseling,”
van den Broek said in the release. “If these results are confirmed, [it
will be] possible to personalize the guidelines for these specific
subgroups.”

The study is slated for presentation Thursday at the 2011 San Antonio
Breast Cancer Symposium. Data and conclusions of this study should be
viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/breast-cancer-gene-puts-survivors-higher-odds-recurrence-190207854.html

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