Breast Cancer Coverage From Every Angle

Survival Rates and BRCA Status in Younger Women With Breast Cancer

By: David Jeans
Posted: Monday, February 26, 2018

Survival rates among young women who have undergone breast cancer treatment may not be affected by gene mutations, according to the POSH study of sporadic versus hereditary breast cancers. However, the investigators suggest there may be a survival advantage during the first few years after diagnosis in BRCA-mutation carriers with triple-negative breast cancer compared with noncarriers.

“Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment,” stated Diana M. Eccles, MD, of the University of Southamptom, United Kingdom. “However, our findings suggest this surgery does not have to be immediately undertaken along with the other treatment. In the longer term, risk-reducing surgery should be discussed as an option for BRCA1-mutation carriers in particular, to minimize their future risk of developing a new breast or ovarian cancer.”

Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Southampton and the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust recruited 2,733 young women with breast cancer between 2000 and 2008. The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, focused on patients aged 40 or younger at the time of first diagnosis. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were found in 12% of the patients.

After a median follow-up of 8.2 years, there was no significant difference in overall survival between patients who were BRCA-positive and those who were BRCA-negative at 2 years (97.0% vs. 96.6%), 5 years (83.8% vs. 85.0%), or 10 years (73.4% vs. 70.1%). However, of the 558 patients who had triple-negative breast cancer, better overall survival at 2 years—but not at 5 years or 10 years—was reported in BRCA-mutation carriers than in noncarriers.