Imaging is often performed yearly for the surveillance of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and women at high familial breast cancer risk. Growth of cancers in carriers may be faster as these tumours are predominantly high grade. Quantitative data on tumour growth rates in these 2 groups are lacking. Here, we have examined 80 high-risk women under surveillance for tumour size at diagnosis and preceding examinations at mammography and/or MRI. Tumour volume doubling time (DT) was assessed in 30 cancers in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and 25 non-carriers. Impact of age and menopausal status were also evaluated. Mean DT of all invasive cancers was shorter in carriers (45 days CI: 26-73) than non-carriers (84 days CI: 58-131) (P = 0.048). Mean age at diagnosis was lower in carriers (40 years) than non-carriers (45 years) (P = 0.007). At multivariable analysis only age (P = 0.03), not risk-group (P = 0.26) nor menopause (P = 0.58) correlated significantly with DT. The mean growth rate slowed down to half in each successive 10 years-older group. In conclusion, age at detection indicated the growth rates of hereditary and familial breast cancers. It is recommended that the screening frequency should be adjusted according to a woman's age and a high-sensitive biannual test may be appropriate before the age of 40 years.

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Keywords BRCA1, Breast cancer, Familial breast cancer, Growth rate, Interval cancer, Mammography, MRI, Screening, Sojourn time, Surveillance
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Journal European Journal of Cancer
Tilanus-Linthorst, M.M.A, Eggermont, A.M.M, de Koning, H.J, Klijn, J.G.M, Brekelmans, C.T, Kriege, M, … Meijer, S. (2005). Hereditary breast cancer growth rates and its impact on screening policy. European Journal of Cancer, 41(11), 1610–1617. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2005.02.034