SAN ANTONIOBreast cancer patients with BRCA 1 or 2 mutations undergoing breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy do not have more in-breast recurrences or radiotherapy complications than their counterparts without the germ-line mutation, and they derive particular benefits from prophylactic bilateral oophorectomy, according to 10-year results from a large collaborative database reported at the 26th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 5).
"The functions of BRCA 1 and 2 are largely unknown, though we do know they are important in maintaining genomic integrity. In vitro studies have shown increased radiation sensitivity in cells deficient in BRCA 1 protein, and BRCA 2 has been shown to be a factor in DNA repair mechanisms," said Lori Pierce, MD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. These characteristics could conceivably alter treatment outcomes and possibly lead to chronic radiotherapy complications due to alterations in DNA repair, she noted.
The study was based on chart reviews from 12 medical centers of 180 BRCA 1/2 carriers and 496 matched controls with sporadic breast cancer (no more than one postmenopausal relative with breast cancer and no family history of ovarian cancer). All patients were diagnosed with stage I-II disease and treated with breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy. Age at diagnosis was 40.5 years in the genetic cohort and 41.4 in the sporadic cohort. Median follow-up was 7.7 and 6.5 years, respectively.
Treatment was comparable between the two cohorts regarding surgery and radiation dose and field. More patients in the genetic group received chemotherapy and more in the sporadic group received tamoxifen(Drug information on tamoxifen). These factors were adjusted for in the multivariate analysis.
Recurrence Rates Similar Overall
In the overall data set, mutation carriers did not have significantly higher rates of local recurrence than persons with sporadic cancers, although there was a trend of slightly worse recurrence rates in the breast and more cancer occurrences outside of the breast among the carriers, Dr. Pierce reported.
Local-only recurrence as the first failure occurred in 22 of 180 genetic patients (12%) and 38 of 496 sporadic patients (7.6%). Analysis of the in-breast tumor recurrences by age, nodal status, and stage also revealed no significant increases among the genetic cohort. Contralateral recurrences, however, were significantly higher among carriers than sporadic patients (P = .0001), she said.