Finding Out if BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genes are Risk Factors for Locally Recurrent Breast Cancer
Bruce G. Haffty, M.D.,Professor of Therapeutic Radiology
One in every approximately eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality. Although it was known that women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are at greater risk for developing breast cancer, it was not known whether these women were at higher risk for recurrence of breast cancer. Dr. Haffty focused his study on determining the risk of recurrence for women with these gene mutations.
Highlighted Study Findings
Using a unique data set allowing a 15 year follow-up of women with breast cancer, Dr. Haffty found that women with mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes were significantly more likely to develop additional tumors in either breast following treatment for an initial occurrence, than are women without this genetic risk factor. These findings have become crucially important to women weighing treatment options at time of initial diagnosis and developing plans for follow-up. The results now routinely inform treatment decisions. These findings also provided the impetus for expanding this work to African-American and Korean populations of women who had never previously been studied.