Aim of the study: Results on tumour characteristics and survival of hereditary breast cancer (BC), especially on BRCA2-associated BC, are inconclusive. The prognostic impact of the classical tumour and treatment factors in hereditary BC is insufficiently known. Methods: We selected 103 BRCA2-, 223 BRCA1- and 311 non-BRCA1/2 BC patients (diagnosis 1980-2004) from the Rotterdam Family Cancer Clinic. To correct for longevity bias, analyses were also performed while excluding index patients undergoing DNA testing ≥2 years after BC diagnosis. As a comparison group, 759 sporadic BC patients of comparable age at and year of diagnosis were selected. We compared tumour characteristics, the occurrence of ipsilateral recurrence (LRR) and contralateral BC (CBC) as well as distant disease-free (DDFS), BC-specific (BCSS) and overall survival (OS) between these groups. By multivariate modelling, the prognostic impact of tumour and treatment factors was investigated separately in hereditary BC. Results: We confirmed the presence of the particular BRCA1-phenotype. In contrast, tumour characteristics of BRCA2-associated BC were similar to those of non-BRCA1/2 and sporadic BC, with the exception of a high risk of CBC (3.1% per year) and oestrogen-receptor (ER)-positivity (83%). No significant differences between BRCA2-associated BC and other BC subgroups were found with respect to LRR, DDFS, BCSS and OS. Independent prognostic factors for BC-specific survival in hereditary BC (combining the three subgroups) were tumour stage, adjuvant chemotherapy, histologic grade, ER status and a prophylactic (salpingo-)oophorectomy. Conclusions: Apart from the frequent occurrence of contralateral BC and a positive ER-status, BRCA2-associated BC did not markedly differ from other hereditary or sporadic BC. Our observation that tumour size and nodal status are prognostic factors also in hereditary BC implies that the strategy to use these factors as a proxy for ultimate mortality appears to be valid also in this specific group of patients.

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European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Brekelmans, C., Tilanus-Linthorst, M., Seynaeve, C., van den Ouweland, A., Menke-Pluymers, M., Bartels, C., … Klijn, J. (2007). Tumour characteristics, survival and prognostic factors of hereditary breast cancer from BRCA2-, BRCA1- and non-BRCA1/2 families as compared to sporadic breast cancer cases. European Journal of Cancer, 43(5), 867–876. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2006.12.009