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November 28, 2007

BRCA1 as well as 2 Found to Increase Chance of Breast Cancer in Men

  • Men with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at greater risk of breast cancer than the general population, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

    Previous studies have shown that men who carry mutations in the BRCA2 gene have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than men in the general population. The association between BRCA1 mutations and breast cancer in men was less clear.

    A team of scientists analyzed data from the NCI’s Cancer Genetics Network of 1,939 families that included 97 men with breast cancer. They found that the risk of developing breast cancer was higher in male BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, compared with noncarriers, but BRCA2 mutation carriers had the highest risk.

    The investigators also found that relative risk was greatest for men in their 30s and 40s and decreased with age. The estimated breast cancer risk of a 70-year-old male BRCA2 mutation carrier was 6.8%, compared with 1.2% for BRCA1 mutation carriers.

    The study was performed by researchers at the Institute for Human Genetics at the University of California, San Francisco, Abramson Cancer Center, and Johns Hopkins.