BRCA1/2 mutation status does not predict survival among young patients, according to findings presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.1

“There is no significant difference in survival between BRCA gene carriers and non-carriers amongst all young breast cancer patients,” reported Diana Eccles, MD, of the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Yet there exists an “11% difference in survival in favor of BRCA carriers who present with triple-negative breast cancer [TNBC],” she added. “As the survival benefit is apparent only in TNBC cases, we would have needed 1116 patients with TNBC for an 11% difference to reach statistical significance.”

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Bilateral mastectomy soon after diagnosis does not improve survival among young BRCA mutation carriers, she noted.

Using clinical genetic services test results and DNA samples tested using a customized breast cancer gene panel, the research team analyzed data for 2759 patients, of whom 379 (approximately 14%) carried BRCA 1 and/or BRCA2 mutations.

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Overall, germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations underlie approximately 3% of breast cancers and more than 10% of young patients with triple-negative breast cancer. The study was undertaken to determine these mutations’ independent prognostic effects among young patients. The median age of women in the study was 36.


  1. Eccles D, Copson E, Maishman T, et al. Does BRCA status affect outcome in young breast cancer patients? Results from the prospective study of outcomes in sporadic and hereditary breast cancer (POSH). Paper presented at: 39th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; Dec 2016; San Antonio, TX.