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J Clin Oncol. 1998 Feb;16(2):397-404.

Survival of BRCA1 breast and ovarian cancer patients: a population-based study from southern Sweden.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.



Recent studies indicate that BRCA1 breast and ovarian tumors may have an advantageous survival. In this population-based study, the survival of carriers of a mutated BRCA1 gene was investigated.


The survival of 71 BRCA1-associated cancer patients (33 breast cancer, seven breast and ovarian cancer, and 31 ovarian cancer patients from 21 families with BRCA1 germline mutations) diagnosed after 1958 was compared with that of a population-based comparison group that consisted of all other invasive breast (n = 28,281) and ovarian (n = 7,011) cancers diagnosed during 1958 to 1995, as well as an age- and stage-matched control group.


No apparent survival advantage was found for BRCA1-associated breast cancers upon direct comparison. After adjustment for age and calendar year of diagnosis, survival was equal to or worse than that of the comparison group (hazards ratio [HR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9 to 2.4). In comparison with an age- and stage-matched control group, survival again appeared equal or worse (HR, 1.5; 95% CI, 0.6 to 3.7). For BRCA1-associated ovarian cancers, an initial survival advantage was noted that disappeared with time. Due to this time dependency, multivariate analyses cannot adequately be analyzed. Compared with the age- and stage-matched control group, survival again appeared equal or worse (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.5 to 2.8).


The results suggest that survival for carriers of a BRCA1 mutation may be similar, or worse than, that for breast and ovarian cancer in general. This finding is in accordance with the adverse histopathologic features observed in BRCA1 tumors and underlines the need for surveillance in families that carry a BRCA1 mutation.

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