Breast cancer genes increase risk of having cancer, but not mortality

Having the BRCA genes that increase the risk of having breast cancer does not increase mortality from this cancer. But the mastectomy before the appearance of the cancer avoids this cancer.

Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers in women who carry them. The latest studies show that women with the BRCA1 gene mutation have a 72% risk of developing breast cancer before age 80. For ovarian cancer, the risk is estimated at 44%. Similarly, for the BRCA2 gene, the figures are 69 and 17% respectively. Hence the highly publicized decision in June 2013 of Angelina Jolie to undergo a double preventive mastectomy.

So much for the risks of having cancer. But according to a latest study published in The Lancet Oncology, having this cancer does not cause an increase in mortality. The study involved 2,733 Britons between the ages of 18 and 40 with breast cancer diagnosed between 2000 and 2008. Of these, 12% were carriers of the mutation. They were followed for an average of eight years. Results: Of the 678 people who died of the disease, breast cancer was involved in 651 cases (96%). But "There was no difference in overall survival whether it was two, five or ten years after diagnosis for women with and without BRCA mutation", the authors said in a statement. A difference only appears in a subgroup, women with triple negative breast cancer. They have a better chance of survival, two years after diagnosis, if they carry the mutation.

No risk for those who are operated on later

Those Who choose to do the operation later one or two years later to better recover from the initial treatment must be reassured: this will probably not affect their chances of survival in the long term ", reassure the doctors.

As for Angelina Jolie, the specialists specify that she must not regret however having done a preventive mastectomy: "The risk reduction operation will always be likely to benefit those carriers of the BRCA mutation to prevent another breast or ovarian cancer from developing in the longer term"they explained.


Video: BRCA across tumour types (November 2019).