BRCA1 mutations and clinicopathological features in a sample of Italian women with early-onset breast cancer

D. Turchetti, L. Cortesi, M. Federico, C. Bertoni, L. Mangone, Se Ferrari, V. Silingardi

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Breast cancer in young women is uncommon and often presents with unfavourable biopathological features. Although early age at onset could suggest a genetic susceptibility to cancer, the appropriateness of BRCA1 testing for women with early-onset breast cancer and modest family history (FH) is controversial. 40 Women diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 years or less, unselected for FH, were screened for germ line BRCA1 mutations by automated sequencing of exons 2, 5, 6, 11, 13 and 20. Overall, deleterious mutations were evidenced in 6 (15%) patients. With regard to FH, mutations were detected in 14%, 11% and 29% of women with none, weak and strong FH, respectively. Large tumour size, grade 3, lack of oestrogen receptors and high proliferation rate were significantly more common in mutation carriers (MC). Our data support both the appropriateness of testing young breast cancer patients and the frequency of unfavourable features in BRCA1-related breast cancer. It is hypothesised that BRCA1 mutations partially justify the high rate of aggressive breast cancer in young patients and that combining age and breast cancer phenotype could help to identify probable MC. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2089
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • BRCA1
  • Breast cancer phenotype
  • Early-onset breast cancer
  • Genetic testing
  • Hereditary breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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