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Ann Oncol. 2003 Apr;14(4):549-53.

Predictive testing for BRCA1 and 2 mutations: a male contribution.

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Department of Haematology and Oncology, St James's Hospital and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.



Management strategies for women carrying BRCA1 and 2 mutations are becoming clearer and predictive testing for a known family mutation is commonly undertaken. Implications for men are not as clear and they participate less frequently.


Twenty-six men from 10 extended families underwent predictive testing. Their motivation, reaction and outcome were studied. Subjects had appropriate pre- and post-test counselling. Informed consent was obtained before predictive testing for known deleterious mutations. DNA analysis followed standard procedures.


Eighteen tested positive and eight negative. Four had adverse psychological reactions and three reneged on their commitments to impart results. The spouse of another man had an adverse psychological reaction to the disclosure of his positive result. Two, already suffering from prostate cancer, were phenocopies and paternal lineage transmission was unexpectedly determined in another. Risk was removed from 33 offspring and confirmed for 56.


Complex themes associated with genetic testing are confirmed and the spectrum extended. Men appear to understand the importance of participating in this process. Methods of avoiding adverse reactions merit further study along with other aspects of the process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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