According to an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women with breast cancer who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have similar outcomes compared to patients without these mutations.
Breast cancer is diagnosed in over 200,000 women annually in the United States. Only a small minority of patients diagnosed with breast cancer have a genetic predisposition that may cause breast cancer. Two known genetic mutations (alterations) are called BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Women with one or both of these mutations have a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer within their lifetimes. Often, patients with these mutations take precautions such as medication or surgery to prevent breast cancer and undergo strict screening for early detection of the disease.
Researchers from Israel recently conducted a clinical study to compare outcomes of patients with breast cancer and BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations to outcomes of breast cancer patients without these mutations. The researchers evaluated data obtained between 1987 and 1988, including cancer samples from more than 1,500 patients. The cancer samples were tested for mutations, and outcomes of these patients were reviewed.
- Overall, deaths rates from breast cancer were not significantly different among patients with BRCA or BRCA2 mutations from those without the mutations.
- Among patients who underwent treatment with chemotherapy, deaths rates from breast cancer were not significantly different between patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations from those without the mutations.
The researchers concluded that breast cancer patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have similar outcomes as patients without the mutations in terms of death rates caused by breast cancer.
Reference: Rennert G, Bisland-Naggan S, Barnett-Griness O, et al. Clinical Outcomes of Breast Cancer in Carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutations. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;357:115-123.