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Breast. 2008 Oct;17(5):441-50. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Counseling for male BRCA mutation carriers: a review.

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Breast Clinic, Department of Surgery, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa.


BRCA mutations in women confer a high risk for breast and ovarian cancers. The risks to male carriers are poorly understood and risk management strategies undescribed. This review summarizes current evidence and gives recommendations for counseling male BRCA mutation carriers. Reported risks for breast, prostate, pancreatic, gastric and hematologic cancers are higher in male BRCA mutation carriers vs non-carriers. Especially in male BRCA2 mutation carriers under age 65 prostate and pancreatic cancer risks are increased. The risk increase for primary cancers of organs like the liver, bone and brain is difficult to assess as these organs are common sites for metastases. Reports on colorectal cancer and melanoma risks are inconclusive. On the current limited evidence available, male BRCA mutation carriers should be regarded as at high risk for breast, prostate, gastric, pancreatic and colorectal cancers; surveillance by appropriate investigations should start at age 40 years.

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