- Undergoing a double mastectomy to
prevent breast cancer can reduce the risk of dying in BRCA1 mutation
- However, in BRCA2 carriers, there
was no difference in risk reduction whether they opted for double
mastectomy or surveillance.
- Overall survival among BRCA1
mutation carriers was 90% in those who had a double mastectomy and 83% in
those who preferred surveillance.
Women who test positive for breast
cancer-causing mutation in the BRCA1 gene can not only prevent the risk of
developing the disease, but also reduce the risk of dying from it by choosing to undergo a
double mastectomy, according to a new study. Double or bilateral mastectomy is
the removal of breast tissue often as a treatment or a risk reduction surgery
for breast cancer. The study was presented at the 11th European Breast Cancer
BRCA Mutations and Breast Cancer
Women who have mutations in the
(BRCA) have an increased risk of developing breast cancer over
their lifetime. The most common mutations that predispose one to breast cancer
are observed in two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Women who test positive for these
mutations may choose to either remove their breasts to prevent the occurrence
of cancer or opt for surveillance.
The study included 1696 BRCA1 mutation
carriers and 1139 BRCA2 mutation carriers, selected from the national
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Netherlands (HEBON) database. The study
aimed to follow healthy women, who opted for bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy
(BRRM) or surveillance and compare their overall risk of dying from any cause
and their risk of dying from breast cancer.
‘BRCA1 mutation carriers opting for double mastectomy had a lower risk of dying from breast cancer than BRCA1 mutation carriers under surveillance.’
All women had no previous risk of breast
cancer and had retained both breasts and ovaries
at the time BRCA1/2 gene
mutation testing. The women were followed-up for approximately 9 to 11 years.
- After follow-up there were 7 cases
of breast cancer and 11 deaths (one due to breast cancer) among the BRCA1
mutations carriers who had BRRM.
- There were 269 breast cancer cases
and 50 deaths (19 due to breast cancer) among BRCA1 carriers who opted for
- At the age of 65, overall survival among BRCA1
mutation carriers was 90% in the BRRM group compared to 83% in the
- At the age of 65, breast cancer-specific survival
was 99.6% in the BRRM group compared to 93% for the surveillance group.
BRCA1 mutation carriers opting for double mastectomy had a lower risk of
dying from breast cancer than BRCA1 mutation carriers under surveillance.
- There were no cases of breast
cancer and two deaths (none due to breast cancer) in the BRRM group.
- There were 144 breast cancer cases
and 32 deaths (seven due to breast cancer) in the surveillance group.
- At the age of 65, overall survival
was 95% for the BRRM group compared to 88% for the surveillance group.
- At the age of 65, breast
cancer-specific survival was 100% for the BRRM group compared to 98% for
the surveillance group.
The risk of dying from breast cancer was low for all BRCA2 mutation
carriers, and there was no difference between the BRRM group and the surveillance
Dr Annette Heemskerk-Gerritsen, a post-doctoral researcher at the Erasmus
University Medical Centre (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), said: "For BRCA1
mutation carriers, bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy not only drastically
reduces the risk of developing breast cancer but, as a consequence, also
improves breast cancer-specific survival when compared to surveillance. For
BRCA2 mutation carriers, however, BRRM seems to lead to similar breast
cancer-specific survival as surveillance, despite the reduced breast cancer
- Double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer reduces risk of dying from the disease - (https://www.ecco-org.eu/Global/News/EBCC/EBCC11/03/Double-mastectomy-to-prevent-breast-cancer-reduces-risk-of-dying-from-the-disease)