Purpose: Preclinical as well as a few small retrospective, neoadjuvant studies suggest that breast cancer (cells) without functional BRCA1 or BRCA2 protein have an increased sensitivity to some chemotherapeutic agents causing double-strand DNA breaks. In this study we assessed the sensitivity to standard first-line chemotherapy of metastatic BRCA1/2-associated breast cancer, compared with sporadic breast cancer patients. Patients and Methods: From the Family Cancer Clinic database, we selected 93 BRCA1- and 28 BRCA2-associated breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy for metastatic disease before January 1, 2007. Objective response (OR), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) after start of first-line chemotherapy were compared with those of sporadic patients, matched for year of birth, age at diagnosis of primary breast cancer, and year of detection of metastatic disease. Results: The chemotherapy regimens most frequently used were anthracycline-based (n = 147) and cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF)/CMF like (n = 68). As compared to sporadic patients, BRCA2-associated patients had a significantly higher OR (89% v 50%; P = .001), a longer PFS (hazard ratio multivariate [HRmult] 0.64; P = .04) and a prolonged OS (HRmult, 0.53; P = .005) after start of first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. For BRCA1-associated patients, a nonsignificant trend for an increased OR (66% v 50%; P = .07), and a longer PFS (HRmult, 0.79; P = .14) after first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer was observed, but not for OS. Conclusion: BRCA2-associated breast cancer is more sensitive to standard first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer in comparison with sporadic breast cancer, especially to anthracyclines. For BRCA1-associated breast cancer no statistically significant higher sensitivity was observed.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2008.19.9067, hdl.handle.net/1765/25360
Kriege, M, Seynaeve, C.M, Meijers-Heijboer, H, Collee, J.M, Menke-Pluymers, M.B.E, Bartels, C.C.M, … Klijn, J.G.M. (2009). Sensitivity to first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(23), 3764–3771. doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.19.9067