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Cancer. 1984 Feb 1;53(3 Suppl):612-22.

Genetic predisposition to breast cancer.


Breast cancer risk factors are closely intertwined with the patient's cultural background, which may contribute to breast cancer aggregations within families. The difficult questions are: (1) does a truly hereditary breast cancer subset exist; (2) which familial aggregations are hereditary; and (3) is the hereditary form distinctive from its sporadic counterpart? These queries will be resolved once biomarkers are identified that show high sensitivity and specificity with genotype. The authors provide a review of this subject and will focus on their recent discovery of increased in vitro hyperdiploidy in cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with or at risk for hereditary breast cancer. The authors discuss findings from their study of family histories in 225 consecutively ascertained patients with verified breast cancer from the Creighton University School of Medicine Oncology Clinic. Findings consistent with an hereditary breast cancer syndrome were identified in 5% of the patients. Given the 112,000 new cases of breast cancer in the United States in 1982, the authors estimate that with a confidence coefficient of 0.95 between 2410 and 8790 of these individuals will manifest hereditary breast cancer. Specific surveillance/management programs should be geared to high-risk members of these families in which cancer yield will be predictable.

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