BRCA gene does not alter breast cancer survival rates

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For women with a mutation whose breast tumors were also triple-negative-which refers to the lack of three specific characteristics seen in a breast tumor-their odds of long-term survival was the same, too.

In 2013, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie announced she had had both breasts surgically removed as a preventative measure after tests revealed she carried the mutation, despite not having been diagnosed with cancer. Most importantly, they uncovered that there was no difference in overall survival two, five, or ten years after diagnosis for women with and without a BRCA mutation.

These are offered to women with faulty genes to cut their risk of developing cancer.

"It can be hard for some patients to decide whether or not to have risk-reducing surgery, typically double mastectomies and removal of ovaries".

"No other study has followed a group of patients from diagnosis over a long period of time to discover if carrying a high-risk inherited BRCA gene alters the likelihood of being cured of breast cancer", said lead researcher Professor Diana Eccles from the University of Southampton.

Survival rates after two years were 97 percent for women with a BRCA mutation and 96.6 percent for those without the mutation, the findings showed.

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For the new study, Eccles and a team recruited 2,733 British women aged 18-40 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2008. Olaparib was first approved in 2014 for ovarian cancer and has now received approval to treat patients with germline BRCA-mutated, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer who were previously administered chemotherapy, according to the FDA.

Doctors had found that the star had mutations in BRCA genes which increase a woman's risk of breast cancer by four-to-eightfold. After 10 years, faulty gene carrier survival was 73.4% compared with 70.1% for non-carriers. It means that they can take time to discuss whether radical breast surgery is the right choice for them as part of a longer-term risk-reducing strategy.

What is the BRCA gene?

BRCA2 - Mutations prevent DNA from repairing itself properly, leading to breast cancer. "Decisions about timing of additional surgery to reduce future cancer risks should take into account patient prognosis after their first cancer, and their personal preferences".

Katherine Woods, from charity Breast Cancer Now said the findings "could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment".

TESARO's PARP inhibitor ZEJULA (niraparib) was OK'd in the U.S.in March 2017 for the maintenance treatment of recurrent epithelial ovarian (and fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers) in patients who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemo regardless of their BRCA status.

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