Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Reports from different countries have been inconclusive in attempting to relate the BRCA1 mutation status to the survival of breast cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate overall and disease-free survival for German hereditary breast cancer patients. Data on clinical outcome and data on age at diagnosis of breast cancer, histology, tumor size, lymph node status, histological grade, and laterality of 36 breast cancer patients from 12 families with a BRCA1 mutation and from one family with strong evidence for linkage to BRCA1 were compared with those of 49 hereditary breast cancer patients from 23 families that did not harbor a BRCA1 mutation. Overall and disease-free survival was estimated for both groups. BRCA1 mutation carriers had a significantly earlier age of diagnosis than non-carriers (p = 0.0001) and more frequently developed contralateral breast cancer (p = 0.04). Also, BRCA1-associated tumors more frequently were of larger size (p = 0.041) and higher grade of malignancy (p = 0.005) than non-BRCA1-associated tumors. Whereas no difference in overall survival was seen, disease-free survival at 10 years differed significantly with 53.3% for BRCA1 mutation carriers and 76% for non- carriers (p = 0.02). However, after stratification for age and in multivariate analysis for mutation status, age, and bilaterality, it was shown that the worse prognosis for BRCA1 mutation carriers disappeared. Our results suggest that the worse prognosis of BRCA1 mutation carriers in terms of disease-free survival may in large part be due to the age of onset of breast cancer in this population. Thus, BRCA1 mutation status does not appear to be an independent prognostic factor.
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