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Earlier Cancer Onset in Second Generation BRCA Carriers

Second generation more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at an earlier age

MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are carriers of BRCA mutations for breast or ovarian cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at an earlier age than members of the previous generation, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in Cancer.

Jennifer K. Litton, M.D., from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the ages of patients in two generations of families with known mutations in the BRCA gene to examine the time of onset in subsequent generations. From a total of 132 BRCA-positive women with breast cancer (generation [Gen] 2), 106 were paired with a family member in the previous generation (Gen 1) who was diagnosed with BRCA-related breast or ovarian cancer. The age at diagnosis, location of the mutation, and year of birth were noted, and a parametric anticipation model was applied to these families with a genetic predisposition.

The investigators found that the median age of cancer diagnosis was 42 and 48 years in Gen 2 and Gen 1, respectively. The estimated change in the expected age at onset for all participants was 7.9 years in the parametric model. Statistically significantly earlier ages at diagnosis were identified within the following subgroups: BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, maternal inheritance, paternal inheritance, breast cancer only, and breast cancer-identified and ovarian cancer-identified families.

"Breast and ovarian cancers in BRCA mutation carriers appeared to be diagnosed at an earlier age in later generations," the authors write.

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