HealthDay News — Preoperative genetic testing affects surgical decision making in female patients with breast cancer, according to researchers.

After conducting a retrospective study involving 302 female patients diagnosed with breast cancer that underwent BRCA mutation testing prior to surgery, Elizabeth Lokich, MD, of Brown University and colleagues found that genetic testing had an impact on surgery choices. Their findings were published in Oncology.

Of the 302 patients, 10.6% were BRCA carriers. Most participants had early-stage disease; 55.6% had T1 lesions and 72.8% were node negative. More than half of the patients (55.6%) underwent breast-conserving surgery, while the remainder underwent unilateral or bilateral mastectomy.

Continue Reading

The likelihood of having both a personal history of breast cancer (odds ratio, 2.74) and hormone receptor-negative tumors (P=0.002) was increased among BRCA mutation carriers.

The choice to undergo bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction was more likely among BRCA carriers (56.3% versus 15.9%; P<0.0001). Compared with mutation-negative patients, BRCA carriers were more likely to opt for a different surgery than was initially planned by their surgeon (71.9% versus 29%, respectively; P<0.0001).

“BRCA mutation testing strongly influences surgical decision making in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Lokich E et al. Oncology. 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.05.028