(HealthDay News) — Survival appears to be similar for patients with young-onset breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation and noncarriers, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in The Lancet Oncology.

Ellen R. Copson, PhD, from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving female patients recruited from 127 hospitals in the United Kingdom who were aged 40 years or younger at first diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were identified with blood DNA collected at recruitment. Clinicopathological data and data relating to treatment and long-term outcomes were collected from routine medical records. A total of 2,733 women were recruited between Jan. 24, 2000, and Jan. 24, 2008.

The researchers found that 12% of patients had a pathogenic BRCA mutation. Overall, 96% of the 678 deaths were due to breast cancer after a median follow-up of 8.2 years. Overall survival did not differ significantly for BRCA-positive and BRCA-negative patients at any time point in multivariable analysis. Among the 558 patients with triple-negative breast cancer, overall survival was better for BRCA mutation carriers than noncarriers at 2 years (95 versus 91%; hazard ratio, 0.59) but not at 5 or 10 years.

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“Decisions about timing of additional surgery aimed at reducing future second primary-cancer risks should take into account patient prognosis associated with the first malignancy and patient preferences,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Copson ER, Maishman TC, Tapper WJ, et al. Germline BRCA mutation and outcome in young-onset breast cancer (POSH): A prospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2018 Jan 11. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30891-4