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Genet Mol Biol. 2009 Jul;32(3):447-55. doi: 10.1590/S1415-47572009005000058. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Population prevalence of hereditary breast cancer phenotypes and implementation of a genetic cancer risk assessment program in southern Brazil.

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética e Biologia Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS Brazil.


In 2004, a population-based cohort (the Núcleo Mama Porto Alegre - NMPOA Cohort) was started in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil and within that cohort, a hereditary breast cancer study was initiated, aiming to determine the prevalence of hereditary breast cancer phenotypes and evaluate acceptance of a genetic cancer risk assessment (GCRA) program. Women from that cohort who reported a positive family history of cancer were referred to GCRA. Of the 9218 women enrolled, 1286 (13.9%) reported a family history of cancer. Of the 902 women who attended GCRA, 55 (8%) had an estimated lifetime risk of breast cancer ≥ 20% and 214 (23.7%) had pedigrees suggestive of a breast cancer predisposition syndrome; an unexpectedly high number of these fulfilled criteria for Li-Fraumeni-like syndrome (122 families, 66.7%). The overall prevalence of a hereditary breast cancer phenotype was 6.2% (95%CI: 5.67-6.65). These findings identified a problem of significant magnitude in the region and indicate that genetic cancer risk evaluation should be undertaken in a considerable proportion of the women from this community. The large proportion of women who attended GCRA (72.3%) indicates that the program was well-accepted by the community, regardless of the potential cultural, economic and social barriers.


breast cancer; genetic counseling; hereditary cancer syndromes

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