Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Poor prognosis linked to BRCA1 mutations

24.10.2003


Breast cancer patients have a lower chance of long-term survival if they carry an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 gene, according to research published in Breast Cancer Research this week. However, the poor prognosis associated with the mutated gene is mitigated by chemotherapy.



The breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, were identified over eight years ago, but the best way of treating women who develop hereditary breast cancer associated with mutations in these genes is still not clear.

A team of researchers from McGill University in Montreal and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York investigated how the prognosis of breast cancer was affected by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, and by the administration of chemotherapy. They studied the clinical records of 496 women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent who underwent treatment for invasive breast cancer between 1980 and 1995. Their results suggest that physicians should take the presence of such mutations into account when they are making treatment decisions.


56 of the women studied carried at least one mutation in either the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene. 79 of the women died from their breast cancer within ten years of diagnosis.

The ten-year survival rates for women with BRCA1 mutations were worse than those without mutations (38% of carriers died compared with 14% of non-carriers). However, the presence of a BRCA1 mutation did not reduce long-term survival if the women were treated with chemotherapy. Risk factors other than the mutations are likely to cause a poor prognosis under these circumstances.

The ten-year survival rates for women with BRCA2 mutations did not differ to those of non-carriers. Also, administration of chemotherapy did not affect survival rates of women with BRCA2 mutations, but the authors acknowledge that the sample size is too small for definitive conclusions

Further studies are necessary to see if the type of chemotherapy used has an effect when these mutations are present.

The researchers say: "This study demonstrates that women with specific BRCA1/2 mutations who develop breast cancer are at increased risk from death from their disease, particularly if the mutation is in BRCA1."

Although other factors contributed to a poor prognosis, for example if breast cancer was first diagnosed when the women were under 50 years old or if the tumour was larger than 2cm upon diagnosis, mutations in BRCA1 predicted an increase in mortality even when these factors were taken into account (if chemotherapy was not given). It may be that chemotherapy is particularly effective for women who carry a BRCA1 mutation.

The risk for breast cancer in the unaffected breast was much higher for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers than non-carriers. However, the 10-year risk of cancer returning in the treated breast was no greater in women with the BRCA mutations than in women without. This may have implications for women who have to choose between bilateral mastectomy and breast conservation, however, a longer follow-up study is needed before women can be reliably advised.

For further information about this research, please contact Associate Professor William Foulkes by email at William.foulkes@mcgill.ca or by phone on 514-934-1934 x44121

Gemma Bradley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/6/1/R8

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>