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Mastectomy dramatically reduces breast cancer risk among women with BRCA1/2 mutations

Alexandria, VA-Two studies from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania appearing online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) have important implications for women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. The first study shows that bilateral prophylactic mastectomy can reduce breast cancer risk by more than 90% in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, and may be even more effective when performed concurrently with or following oophorectomy. The second study shows that women undergoing prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) can take short-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to combat the associated symptoms of menopause without fear of significantly increasing breast cancer risk.

Although the removal of the breasts and the ovaries does not completely prevent breast and ovarian cancer, researchers strongly recommend that all women with the mutations undergo oophorectomy at the completion of child bearing, based on previous studies showing that this procedure reduces ovarian cancer risk by at least 90%. Results of these studies will be published online at www.jco.org on February 23, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. (ET).

-- Bilateral Mastectomy Significantly Lowers Breast Cancer Risk in High-Risk Women --

The first study to calculate the risk reduction from bilateral mastectomy in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers evaluated 483 women from 11 sites in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands over six years.

Breast cancer was diagnosed in two of the 105 women (1.9%) who had bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, compared to 184 of the 378 (48.7%) who did not undergo the procedure. Mastectomy reduced breast cancer risk by approximately 95% among women with prior or concurrent prophylactic oophorectomy, and by 90% among women with intact ovaries.

"Our study shows that bilateral prophylactic mastectomy markedly reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are genetically predisposed to
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Contact: Carrie Housman
housmanc@asco.org
703-519-1423
American Society of Clinical Oncology
23-Feb-2004


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