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Breast-sparing surgery an option for women with breast cancer gene mutation, U-M-led study finds

the women with the mutation who had not undergone oopherectomy developed a second breast cancer in the other breast, compared to only 9 percent of those women without the genetic mutation.

Women with the mutation who took tamoxifen had a 69 percent reduction in breast cancer in the opposite breast. Among women who did not undergo oophorectomy, tamoxifen made a significant difference: 6 percent of those taking tamoxifen had a second cancer in the opposite breast after 15 years, compared to 54 percent of those who did not take tamoxifen.

"For women with early stage breast cancer who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers, our 10-year data suggest that oophorectomy or tamoxifen in women treated with breast conservation and radiation therapy help to reduce the risk of recurrences and new primary cancers in the treated breast to levels comparable to those observed in women with early stage breast cancer who are not BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers," says lead study author Lori J. Pierce, M.D., professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.

"However, carriers must understand that the risk of breast cancer in the opposite breast still remained significantly greater than in women without a mutation. Thus, it is very important that women who choose breast preservation discuss with their doctors surveillance strategies not only of the involved breast but also in the opposite breast," she says.

Oophorectomy is a common procedure for women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations because it reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, which is also higher in women with these mutations. Tamoxifen is commonly prescribed to treat breast cancer that is responsive to estrogen.

Many women with the genetic mutations will have both their breasts removed before cancer develops as a preventive strategy. After breast cancer develops, bilateral mastectomy reduces the risk of it recurring by at least 90 percent. But studies have shown approximately the same number of
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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
6-Jun-2006


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