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Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2009 Feb;13(1):51-6. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2008.0067.

Uptake, time course, and predictors of risk-reducing surgeries in BRCA carriers.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA. mary.beattie@ucsfmedctr.org



For women who carry BRCA mutations, risk-reducing surgeries are an option to decrease breast and ovarian cancer risk. This study aims to determine the uptake, time course, and predictors of risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) and risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) in BRCA carriers.


In 272 female carriers, followed for a median of 3.7 years, 23% of those eligible chose RRM, and 51% percent chose RRSO. Among BRCA carriers who chose these procedures, median time to both RRM and RRSO was approximately 4 months after learning of BRCA-positive results. Predictors of RRM were as follows: age below 60 years (hazard ratio 1.8, p=0.04), prior breast cancer (hazard ratio 2.4, p=0.0004), and RRSO (hazard ratio 7.2, p<0.0001). Predictors of RRSO were as follows: age below 60 years (hazard ratio 3.6, p=0.006), prior breast cancer (hazard ratio 1.8, p=0.002), and RRM (hazard ratio 5.4, p<0.0001).


Many women who undergo BRCA testing use these results to make clinical decisions; those who choose risk-reducing surgeries typically do so within months of receiving BRCA-positive results. Predictors of risk-reducing surgery uptake include the following: age below 60 years, prior breast cancer, and utilization of another risk-reducing surgery. Future research directions include examining other preventive and screening options in BRCA carriers as well as studying motivations for choosing or declining risk-reducing surgeries.

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