(HealthDay News) — For women with breast cancer, preoperative genetic testing affects surgical decision making, according to a study published online in Gynecologic Oncology.

Elizabeth Lokich, from Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 302 women with breast cancer who underwent BRCA mutation testing prior to surgery.

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Surgical choice and change in surgical choice were compared for women that tested positive and negative for a BRCA mutation.

The researchers found that 10.6% of the participants 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 women (55.6%) underwent breast-conserving surgery, while the remainder underwent unilateral or bilateral mastectomy.

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.

RELATED: BRCA Carriers Morely Likely to Survive with Bilateral Mastectomy

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,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Lokich E, Stuckey A, Raker C et al. Preoperative genetic testing affects surgical decision making in breast cancer patients. Gynecol Oncol. 2014;doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.05.028.