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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

In this News Digest:

  • Summary of a study being published online Oct. 31, 2011, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finding that close relatives of women who carry mutations in a BRCA gene - but who themselves do not have such genetic mutations -- do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to relatives of women with breast cancer who do not have such mutations. These results run counter to a previous study showing a higher risk for these women, and suggest they may not need extra cancer screening and other preventive measures.
  • Quote for attribution to Andrew Seidman, MD, American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Communications Committee member and breast cancer specialist.
  • Links to additional information on http://www.Cancer.Net, ASCO's patient Website

A population-based analysis of more than 3,000 families including women with breast cancer has found that close relatives of women who carry mutations in a BRCA gene - but who themselves do not have such genetic mutations - do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to relatives of women with breast cancer who do not have such mutations. While these results support most previous evidence regarding risks for non-carriers of BRCA mutations, they run counter to a 2007 study that indicated first-degree relatives (mothers, sisters and daughters) of women with BRCA gene mutations are several times more likely than the general population to develop breast cancer - despite not having the mutation themselves. The new findings suggest that women who test negative for the mutation may not need extra cancer screening and other increased preventive measures.

"This new study gives reassurance to non-carriers that they do not have an increased risk due to the familial mutation, and should be regarded the same as other non-carriers with first-degree relatives who have had breast cancer
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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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