Breast cancer survival unaffected by faulty gene

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The study's author, Professor Diana Eccles, of the University of Southampton, said: "Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment".

The research team, led by the University of Southampton, used data from 2,733 young women in 127 United Kingdom hospitals who had been diagnosed with primary breast cancer before the age of 40.

According to the American Cancer Society, women with a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a seven-in-10 chance of getting breast cancer by the age of 80. "Understanding prognosis in young patients is important because patients with BRCA mutations are at increased risk of developing specific conditions, such as secondary cancers, including ovarian cancer, contralateral breast cancer, and de novo breast cancer in the same breast".

Breast cancer survival was the same in young women with and without faulty BRCA genes, according to a new study.

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And in women under the age of 40 diagnosed with breast cancer, a higher proportion have these faulty genes compared with older patients. There was no significant difference in overall survival between patients who were BRCA positive and those who were BRCA negative at 2 years (97% vs 96.6%, respectively), 5 years (83.8% vs 85%), or 10 years (73.4% vs 70.1%; hazard ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.76-1.22; P = 0.76).

"Our findings suggest that this surgery does not have to be immediately undertaken along with the other treatment".

For this study, researchers followed more than 2,700 women recruited from more than a hundred British hospitals for almost a decade.

The results were the same whether mutations were in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, according to the study published January 11 in The Lancet Oncology. At that time, BRCA testing and risk-reducing surgery were not routine for early breast cancer.

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She added: "In view of this, younger women with breast cancer can take time to discuss whether radical breast surgery is the right choice for them as part of a longer-term risk reducing strategy".

Patients were then followed up for an average of just over 8 years, which revealed similar survival across women in the study, regardless of their BRCA status, the researchers report in the Lancet Oncology.

'This study can reassure young women with breast cancer ... that breast conservation with radiotherapy is a safe option in the first decade after diagnosis and double mastectomy is not essential or mandatory at initial treatment.

AztraZeneca Executive Vice President and Head of the Oncology Business Unit Dave Fredrickson said: "This new approval for Lynparza makes it the first and only PARP inhibitor approved in metastatic breast cancer, and the only PARP inhibitor approved beyond ovarian cancer". The FDA says it is expanding approval of Lynparza (olaparib) to include use against BRCA-linked tumors that have spread outside the breast.

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