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Br J Cancer. 2011 Apr 26;104(9):1384-92. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.120. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Predictors of contralateral breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

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Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



The objective of this study was to estimate the risk of contralateral breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers; and measure the extent to which host, family history, and cancer treatment-related factors modify the risk.


Patients were 810 women, with stage I or II breast cancer, for whom a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation had been identified in the family. Patients were followed from the initial diagnosis of cancer until contralateral mastectomy, contralateral breast cancer, death, or last follow-up.


Overall, 149 subjects (18.4%) developed a contralateral breast cancer. The 15-year actuarial risk of contralateral breast cancer was 36.1% for women with a BRCA1 mutation and was 28.5% for women with a BRCA2 mutation. Women younger than 50 years of age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis were significantly more likely to develop a contralateral breast cancer at 15 years, compared with those older than 50 years (37.6 vs 16.8%; P=0.003). Women aged <50 years with two or more first-degree relatives with early-onset breast cancer were at high risk of contralateral breast cancer, compared with women with fewer, or no first-degree relatives with breast cancer (50 vs 36%; P=0.005). The risk of contralateral breast cancer was reduced with oophorectomy (RR 0.47; 95% CI 0.30-0.76; P=0.002).


The risk of contralateral breast cancer risk in BRCA mutation carriers declines with the age of diagnosis and increases with the number of first-degree relatives affected with breast cancer. Oophorectomy reduces the risk of contralateral breast cancer in young women with a BRCA mutation.

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