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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Oct;17(10):3017-24.

BRCA1/BRCA2 germline mutations in locally recurrent breast cancer patients after lumpectomy and radiation therapy: implications for breast-conserving management in patients with BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8040, USA.



Breast cancer patients treated conservatively with lumpectomy and radiation therapy (LRT) have an estimated lifetime risk of local relapse (ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence [IBTR]) of 10% to 15%. For breast cancer patients carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutations, the outcome of treatment with LRT with respect to IBTR has not been determined. In this study, we estimate the frequency of BRCA1/2 mutations in a study of breast cancer patients with IBTR treated with LRT.


Between 1973 and 1994, there were 52 breast cancer patients treated with LRT who developed an IBTR within the prior irradiated breast and who were willing to participate in the current study. From our database, we also identified 52 control breast cancer patients treated with LRT without IBTR. The control patients were individually matched to the index cases with respect to multiple clinical and pathologic parameters. Lymphocyte DNA specimens from all 52 locally recurrent patients and 15 of the matched control patients under age 40 were used as templates for polymerase chain reaction amplification and dye-primer sequencing of exons 2 to 24 of BRCA1, exons 2 to 27 of BRCA2, and flanking intron sequences.


After LRT, eight (15%) of 52 breast cancer patients had IBTR with deleterious BRCA1/2 mutations. By age, there were six (40%) of 15 patients with IBTR under age 40 with BRCA1/2 mutations, one (9.0%) of 11 between ages 40 and 49, and one (3.8%) of 26 older than age 49. In comparison to the six (40%) of 15 of patients under age 40 with IBTR found to have BRCA1/2 mutations, only one (6.6%) of 15 matched control patients without IBTR and had a BRCA1/2 mutation (P =.03). The median time to IBTR for patients with BRCA1/2 mutations was 7.8 years compared with 4.7 years for patients without BRCA1/2 mutations (P =.03). By clinical and histologic criteria, these relapses represented second primary tumors developing in the conservatively treated breast. All patients with BRCA1/2 mutations and IBTR underwent successful surgical salvage mastectomy at the time of IBTR and remain alive without evidence of local or systemic progression of disease.


In this study, we found an elevated frequency of deleterious BRCA1/2 mutations in breast cancer patients treated with LRT who developed late IBTR. The relatively long time to IBTR, as well as the histologic and clinical criteria, suggests that these recurrent cancers actually represent new primary breast cancers. Early onset breast cancer patients experiencing IBTR have a disproportionately high frequency of deleterious BRCA1/2 mutations. This information may be helpful in guiding management in BRCA1 or BRCA2 patients considering breast-conserving therapy.

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