Send to

Choose Destination
Breast. 2013 Oct;22(5):561-8. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2013.07.045. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Breast cancer in women at high risk: the role of rapid genetic testing for BRCA1 and -2 mutations and the consequences for treatment strategies.

Author information

Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:


Specific clinical questions rise when patients, who are diagnosed with breast cancer, are at risk of carrying a mutation in BRCA1 and -2 gene due to a strong family history or young age at diagnosis. These questions concern topics such as 1. Timing of genetic counseling and testing, 2. Choices to be made for BRCA1 or -2 mutation carriers in local treatment, contralateral treatment, (neo)adjuvant systemic therapy, and 3. The psychological effects of rapid testing. The knowledge of the genetic status might have several advantages for the patient in treatment planning, such as the choice whether or not to undergo mastectomy and/or prophylactic contralateral mastectomy. The increased risk of developing a second breast cancer in the ipsilateral breast in mutation carriers, is only slightly higher after primary cancer treatment, than in the general population. Prophylactic contralateral mastectomy provides a substantial reduction of contralateral breast cancer, although only a small breast cancer specific survival benefit. Patients should be enrolled in clinical trials to investigate (neo)-adjuvant drug regimens, that based on preclinical and early clinical evidence might be targeting the homologous recombination defect, such as platinum compounds and PARP inhibitors. If rapid testing is performed, the patient can make a well-balanced decision. Although rapid genetic counseling and testing might cause some distress, most women reported this approach to be worthwhile. In this review the literature regarding these topics is evaluated. Answers and suggestions, useful in clinical practice are discussed.


BRCA1 and -2 mutation; Breast cancer; Rapid testing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center