Friday, September 16, 2011

Breast Cancer News for BRCA 1/2 Mutation Carriers

BRCA 1/2 gene mutation carriers have been in the news lately. Today we'll share the latest headlines and the studies behind them.

ABC News: "Women Develop BRCA-Related Cancer Earlier Than Their Moms, Study Says"

This was the big story of the week. ABC News, US News and World Report, the Los Angeles Times and Medical News Today all ran stories. (Links may be found on the BRCAnalysis page of our website. From the home page, click the "Treatments" tab and search for "BRCAnalysis" in the box on the top right.)
The headlines stemmed from an MD Anderson study published in Cancer on September 12. According to the study, breast and ovarian cancers appear to be diagnosed at earlier ages in later generations. A statistical model revealed that for BRCA mutation carriers, breast cancer would be diagnosed almost 8 years earlier than in the generation before.

Currently, BRCA mutation carriers are advised to start screening by 25. In the Los Angeles Times, the authors said their findings may support earlier screenings for future generations.

Medical News Today: "BRCA1 Gene Mutation Associated With Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy"

Another BRCA study from MD Anderson made news this month. This one revealed some good news for BRCA 1 carriers.

Last week, Medical News Today and US News and World Report covered a Journal of Clinical Oncology study which found that carriers of the BRCA 1 mutation had a better response to chemotherapy before surgery, known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

In the study, 46% of the BRCA 1 carriers achieved a pathological complete response (pCR), meaning the tumor disappeared in response to treatment. Only 13% of the BRCA 2 carriers and 22% of the non-BRCA carriers achieved pCR.

However, after about 3 years, BRCA status made no significant difference in survival. But, BRCA 1 carriers who achieved a pCR had better 5 year relapse-free and overall survival rates than BRCA 1 carriers who did not.

In the media stories, lead author, Dr. Banu Arun noted,

"This new insight tempts us to speculate that the presence of the BRCA1 mutation determines how some women will respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. However, we need future prospective studies with larger cohorts and longer-term follow up to validate these findings and determine optimum treatment."

Next week, we'll share the latest breast cancer news and research on hot flashes and fatigue after treatment. Until then, you may explore all the latest news and research on any breast cancer test or treatment option at our website anytime.

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