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BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations Linked to Male Breast Cancer

Elevated risk of developing breast cancer, particularly for male BRCA2 mutation carriers

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Men who carry germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than non-carriers, according to research published online Nov. 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Yu Chuan Tai, Ph.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues investigated the risk of developing breast carcinoma in males carrying BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. The researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Genetics Network including 1,939 families in which 97 males had breast carcinoma. Roughly one-third of the families were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Males carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations had a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the general population, with the risk highest for men in their 30s and 40s and decreasing with age. The estimated cumulative risk of developing breast carcinoma by age 70 was 1.2 percent for males carrying the BRCA1 mutation and 6.8 percent for BRCA2 mutation carriers.

"Our demonstration that BRCA1 mutations are associated with an elevated risk of male breast cancer, but that those risks are still substantially lower than those in BRCA2 mutations carriers, confirms previous suggestions that the link between BRCA1 mutations and male breast carcinoma is weaker than that between BRCA2 mutations and male breast cancer.

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