Genetic Breast Cancer Gene Diagnosed 8 Years Earlier Than Previous Generations
September 12, 2011

Breast Cancer Gene Diagnosed Earlier Than Previous Generations


According to a new study, women with mutations in breast cancer genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are being diagnosed with the condition six to eight years earlier than their mothers and aunts who also had these types of mutations.

There was 106 women of the 132 who had BRCA mutations in the study who were diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 42. 

The researchers looked at the age of cancer diagnosis between generations in families with a history of BRCA-related cancer.

The team found that the entire study group had the expected age-of-onset of cancer drop down by 7.9 years from the first generation to the second.

The results suggest that women who inherit BRCA gene mutations develop cancer at younger ages than women in the previous generation.

"Our research tells us that we need to continue to initiate screenings at least ten years prior to the earliest cancer diagnosis,"  Jennifer Litton, MD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said in a press release.

"Also, because we do not have the BRCA mutation status of affected individuals from previous generations, when testing may not have been available yet, it is vital that we continue to collect family information," Litton, who lead the research, added.

She said she plans to look into biological basis for potential earlier diagnosis as a follow up study.

The research was published online in a peer-reviewed journal CANCER.


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