Ana Blanco

Odense University Hospital, Odense, South Denmark, Denmark

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Publications (25)107.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most well-known breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes. Additional genes involved in DNA repair have been identified as predisposing to breast cancer. Recently, RAD51C, a new Fanconi Anemia gene, essential for homologous recombination repair, has been reported to be a rare hereditary breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene. Indeed, several pathogenic mutations have been identified in BRCA1/BRCA2-negative hereditary breast and ovarian cancer families. Here, we present the results of the screening of RAD51C mutations in a large series of 516 BRCA1/BRCA2-negative Spanish patients from breast and/or ovarian cancer families, and the evaluation of these results in the context of all RAD51C carriers. RAD51C mutation screening was performed by DNA analysis for all index cases. All the genetic variants identified were analyzed in silico for splicing and protein predictions. cDNA analysis was performed for three selected variants. All previous RAD51C mutation studies on breast and/or ovarian cancer were reviewed. We identified three inactivating RAD51C mutations. Two mutations were found in breast and ovarian cancer families and one mutation in a site-specific breast cancer family. Based on the mean age of ovarian cancer diagnosis in RAD51C carriers, we would recommend prophylactic bilateral salpingo-ophorectomy in premenopausal RAD51C mutation carriers. Our results support that RAD51C is a rare breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene and may contribute to a small fraction of families including breast and ovarian cancer cases and families with only breast cancer. Thus, RAD51C testing should be offered to hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer families without selecting for specific cancer origin.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 08/2014; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the Iberian Peninsula, which includes mainly Spain and Portugal, large genomic rearrangements (LGRs) of BRCA1 and BRCA2 have respectively been found in up to 2.33% and 8.4% of families with hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer (HBOC) that lack point mutations and small indels. In Galicia (Northwest Spain), the spectrum and frequency of BRCA1/BRCA2 point mutations differs from the rest of the Iberian populations. However, to date there are no Galician frequency reports of BRCA1/BRCA2 LGRs. Here we used multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) to screen 651 Galician index cases (out of the 830 individuals referred for genetic analysis) without point mutations or small indels. We identified three different BRCA1 LGRs in four families. Two of them have been previously classified as pathogenic LGRs: the complete deletion of BRCA1 (identified in two unrelated families) and the deletion of exons 1 to 13. We also identified the duplication of exons 1 and 2 that is a LGR with unknown pathogenicity. Determination of the breakpoints of the BRCA1 LGRs using CNV/SNP arrays and sequencing identified them as NG_005905.2:g.70536_180359del, NG_005905.2:g.90012_97270dup, and NC_000017.10:g.41230935_41399840delinsAluSx1, respectively; previous observations of BRCA1 exon1-24del, exon1-2dup, and exon1-13del LGRs have not characterized them in such detail. All the BRCA1 LGRs arose from unequal homologous recombination events involving Alu elements. We also detected, by sequencing, one BRCA2 LGR, the Portuguese founder mutation c.156_157insAluYa5. The low frequency of BRCA1 LGRs within BRCA1 mutation carriers in Galicia (2.34%, 95% CI: 0.61-7.22) seems to differ from the Spanish population (9.93%, 95% CI: 6.76-14.27, P-value = 0.013) and from the rest of the Iberian population (9.76%, 95% CI: 6.69-13.94, P-value = 0.014).
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e93306. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Loss-of-function germline mutations in BRCA1 (MIM #113705) confer markedly increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The full-length transcript codifies for a protein involved in DNA repair pathways and cell-cycle checkpoints. Several BRCA1 splicing isoforms have been described in public domain databases, but the physiological role (if any) of BRCA1 alternative splicing remains to be established. An accurate description of 'naturally occurring' alternative splicing at this locus is a prerequisite to understand its biological significance. However, a systematic analysis of alternative splicing at the BRCA1 locus is yet to be conducted. Here, the Evidence-Based Network for the Interpretation of Germ-Line Mutant Alleles consortium combines RT-PCR, exon scanning, cloning, sequencing and relative semi-quantification to describe naturally occurring BRCA1 alternative splicing with unprecedented resolution. The study has been conducted in blood-related RNA sources, commonly used for clinical splicing assays, as well as in one healthy breast tissue. We have characterized a total of 63 BRCA1 alternative splicing events, including 35 novel findings. A minimum of 10 splicing events (Δ1Aq, Δ5, Δ5q, Δ8p, Δ9, Δ(9,10), Δ9_11, Δ11q, Δ13p and Δ14p) represent a substantial fraction of the full-length expression level (ranging from 5 to 100%). Remarkably, our data indicate that BRCA1 alternative splicing is similar in blood and breast, a finding supporting the clinical relevance of blood-based in vitro splicing assays. Overall, our data suggest an alternative splicing model in which most non-mutually exclusive alternative splicing events are randomly combined into individual mRNA molecules to produce hundreds of different BRCA1 isoforms
    Human Molecular Genetics 01/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: on behalf of the ENIGMA consortium BACKGROUND: Accurate evaluation of unclassified se-quence variants in cancer predisposition genes is essen-tial for clinical management and depends on a multi-factorial analysis of clinical, genetic, pathologic, and bioinformatic variables and assays of transcript length and abundance. The integrity of assay data in turn re-lies on appropriate assay design, interpretation, and reporting. METHODS: We conducted a multicenter investigation to compare mRNA splicing assay protocols used by mem-bers of the ENIGMA (Evidence-Based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles) consor-tium. We compared similarities and differences in re-sults derived from analysis of a panel of breast cancer 1,
    Clinical Chemistry 11/2013; · 7.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RAD51D mutations have been recently identified in breast (BC) and ovarian (OC) cancer families. Although an aetiological role in OC seems to be present, the association of RAD51D mutations and BC risk is more unclear. We aimed to determine the prevalence of germline RAD51D mutations in Spanish breast/ovarian cancer families negative for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations. We analyzed 842 index patients: 491 from BC/OC families, 171 BC families, 51 OC families, and 129 patients without family history but with early-onset BC or OC or metachronous BC and OC. Mutation detection was performed with HRM, DHPLC or Sanger sequencing. Three mutations were found in four families with BC and OC cases (0.82%). Two were novel: c.1A>T (p.Met1?) and c.667+2_667+23del, leading to the exon 7 skipping and one previously described: c.674C>T (p.Arg232*). All were present in BC/OC families with only one OC. The c.667+2_667+23del co-segregated in the family with one early onset BC and two bilateral BC cases. We also identified the c.629C>T (p.Ala210Val) variant, which was predicted in silico to be potentially pathogenic. About 1% of the BC and OC Spanish families negative for BRCA1/BRCA2 are carriers of RAD51D mutations. The presence of several BC mutation carriers, albeit in the context of familial OC, suggests an increased risk for BC, which should be taken into account in the follow-up and early detection measures. RAD51D testing should be considered in clinical setting for families with BC and OC, irrespective of the number of OC cases in the family © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 10/2013; · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The PALB2 gene, also known as FANCN, forms a bond and co-localizes with BRCA2 in DNA repair. Germline mutations in PALB2 have been identified in approximately 1% of familial breast cancer and 3-4% of familial pancreatic cancer. The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of PALB2 mutations in a population of BRCA1/BRCA2 negative breast cancer patients selected from either a personal or family history of pancreatic cancer. 132 non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast/ovarian cancer families with at least one pancreatic cancer case were included in the study. PALB2 mutational analysis was performed by direct sequencing of all coding exons and intron/exon boundaries, as well as multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Two PALB2 truncating mutations, the c.1653T>A (p.Tyr551Stop) previously reported, and c.3362del (p.Gly1121ValfsX3) which is a novel frameshift mutation, were identified. Moreover, several PALB2 variants were detected; some of them were predicted as pathological by bioinformatic analysis. Considering truncating mutations, the prevalence rate of our population of BRCA1/2-negative breast cancer patients with pancreatic cancer is 1.5%. The prevalence rate of PALB2 mutations in non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast/ovarian cancer families, selected from either a personal or family pancreatic cancer history, is similar to that previously described for unselected breast/ovarian cancer families. Future research directed towards identifying other gene(s) involved in the development of breast/pancreatic cancer families is required.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e67538. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Splicing assays are commonly undertaken in the clinical setting to assess the clinical relevance of sequence variants in disease predisposition genes. A 5-tier classification system incorporating both bioinformatic and splicing assay information was previously proposed as a method to provide consistent clinical classification of such variants. Members of the ENIGMA Consortium Splicing Working Group undertook a study to assess the applicability of the scheme to published assay results, and the consistency of classifications across multiple reviewers. Splicing assay data was identified for 235 BRCA1 and 176 BRCA2 unique variants, from 77 publications. At least six independent reviewers from research and/or clinical settings comprehensively examined splicing assay methods and data reported for 22 variant assays of 21 variants in four publications, and classified the variants using the 5-tier classification scheme. Inconsistencies in variant classification occurred between reviewers for 17 of the variant assays. These could be attributed to a combination of ambiguity in presentation of the classification criteria, differences in interpretation of the data provided, non-standardised reporting of results, and the lack of quantitative data for the aberrant transcripts. We propose suggestions for minimum reporting guidelines for splicing assays, and improvements to the 5-tier splicing classification system to allow future evaluation of its performance as a clinical tool. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Human Mutation 01/2013; · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Accurate evaluation of unclassified sequence variants in cancer predisposition genes is essential for clinical management and depends on a multifactorial analysis of clinical, genetic, pathologic, and bioinformatic variables and assays of transcript length and abundance. The integrity of assay data in turn relies on appropriate assay design, interpretation, and reporting.METHODS: We conducted a multicenter investigation to compare mRNA splicing assay protocols used by members of the ENIGMA (Evidence-Based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles) consortium. We compared similarities and differences in results derived from analysis of a panel of breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA1) and breast cancer 2, early onset (BRCA2) gene variants known to alter splicing (BRCA1: c.135-1G>T, c.591C>T, c.594-2A>C, c.671-2A>G, and c.5467+5G>C and BRCA2: c.426-12_8delGTTTT, c.7988A>T, c.8632+1G>A, and c.9501+3A>T). Differences in protocols were then assessed to determine which elements were critical in reliable assay design.RESULTS: PCR primer design strategies, PCR conditions, and product detection methods, combined with a prior knowledge of expected alternative transcripts, were the key factors for accurate splicing assay results. For example, because of the position of primers and PCR extension times, several isoforms associated with BRCA1, c.594-2A>C and c.671-2A>G, were not detected by many sites. Variation was most evident for the detection of low-abundance transcripts (e.g., BRCA2 c.8632+1G>A Delta19,20 and BRCA1 c.135-1G>T Delta5q and Delta3). Detection of low-abundance transcripts was sometimes addressed by using more analytically sensitive detection methods (e.g., BRCA2 c.426-12_8delGTTTT ins18bp).CONCLUSIONS: We provide recommendations for best practice and raise key issues to consider when designing mRNA assays for evaluation of unclassified sequence variants.
    Clin Chem. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia is a genetically heterogeneous autosomal recessive disorder characterized by development abnormalities, bone marrow failure, and childhood cancers. Compelling evidence indicates a common genetic basis for FA and breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility. Recently, biallelic germ-line mutations in SLX4 have been demonstrated to cause a previously unknown FA subtype (FA-P). We address the role of SLX4/FANCP in breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility by conducting a comprehensive mutation scanning in 486 index cases from non-BRCA1/BRCA2 multiple-case breast and/or ovarian cancer families (non-BRCA1/2 families) from Spain. We detected one unequivocal loss-of-function mutation (p.Glu1517X). In addition, one missense change (p.Arg372Trp) predicted to be pathogenic by in silico analysis co-segregates with disease in one family. Overall, the study indicates that SLX4 mutation screening will have a very low impact (if any) in the genetic counseling of non-BRCA1/2 families.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 5 December 2012; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.268.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 12/2012; · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    Clinical and Translational Oncology 11/2012; · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations in telomere maintenance mechanisms leading to short telomeres underlie different genetic disorders of ageing and cancer predisposition syndromes. It is known that short telomeres and subsequent genomic instability contribute to malignant transformation, and it is therefore likely that people with shorter telomeres are at higher risk for different types of cancer. Recently, the authors demonstrated that the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are modifiers of telomere length (TL) in familial breast cancer. The present study analysed TL in peripheral blood leucocytes of hereditary and sporadic ovarian cancer cases, as well as in female controls, to evaluate whether TL contributes to ovarian cancer risk. TL was measured by quantitative PCR in 178 sporadic and 168 hereditary ovarian cases (46 BRCA1, 12 BRCA2, and 110 BRCAX) and compared to TL in 267 controls. Both sporadic and hereditary cases showed significantly shorter age adjusted TLs than controls. Unconditional logistic regression analysis revealed an association between TL and ovarian cancer risk with a significant interaction with age (p<0.001). Risk was higher in younger women and progressively decreased with age, with the highest OR observed in women under 30 years of age (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.34 to 1.81; p=1.0×10(-18)). These findings indicate that TL could be a risk factor for early onset ovarian cancer.
    Journal of Medical Genetics 04/2012; 49(5):341-4. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been demonstrated that monoallelic PALB2 (Partner and Localizer of BRCA2) gene mutations predispose to familial breast cancer. Some of the families reported with germline PALB2 mutations presented male breast cancer as a characteristic clinical feature. Therefore, we wanted to investigate the contribution of germline PALB2 mutations in a set of 131 Spanish BRCA1/BRCA2-negative breast/ovarian cancer families with at least one male breast cancer case. The analysis included direct sequencing of all coding exons and intron/exon boundaries as well as a Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification-based analysis of genomic rearrangements. For the first time we have identified a genomic rearrangement of PALB2 gene involving a large deletion from exon 7 to 11 in a breast cancer family. We have also identified several PALB2 variants, but no other obvious deleterious PALB2 mutation has been found. Thus, our study does not support an enrichment of PALB2 germline mutations in the subset of breast cancer families with male breast cancer cases. The identification of intronic and exonic variants indicates the necessity of assessing the implications of variants that do not lead to PALB2 truncation in the pathoghenicity of the PALB2 gene.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 11/2011; 132(1):307-15. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classification of intronic and predicted missense changes in the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 remains a significant challenge for manage-ment of patients carrying these variants. Defective mRNA splicing is established as a pathway to disease, and mRNA analysis of unclassified variants has been shown to assist in classification and genetic counselling. However the interpretation of splicing assay results can be difficult, particularly for those variants that give rise to aberrations in a background of naturally occurring isoforms. The ENIGMA (Evidence-based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles) consortium was set up to facilitate research and improve research methods used to classify rare variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 (and potentially other) breast cancer predisposition genes.
    Familial Aspects of Cancer 2011 Research and Practice; 08/2011
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 predispose carriers to early onset breast and ovarian cancer. A common problem in clinical genetic testing is interpretation of variants with unknown clinical significance. The Evidence-based Network for the Interpretation of Germline Mutant Alleles (ENIGMA) consortium was initiated to evaluate and implement strategies to characterize the clinical significance of BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants. As an initial project of the ENIGMA Splicing Working Group, we report splicing and multifactorial likelihood analysis of 25 BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants from seven different laboratories. Splicing analysis was performed by reverse transcriptase PCR or mini gene assay, and sequencing to identify aberrant transcripts. The findings were compared to bioinformatic predictions using four programs. The posterior probability of pathogenicity was estimated using multifactorial likelihood analysis, including co-occurrence with a deleterious mutation, segregation and/or report of family history. Abnormal splicing patterns expected to lead to a non-functional protein were observed for 7 variants (BRCA1 c.441+2T>A, c.4184_4185+2del, c.4357+1G>A, c.4987-2A>G, c.5074G>C, BRCA2 c.316+5G>A, and c.8754+3G>C). Combined interpretation of splicing and multifactorial analysis classified an initiation codon variant (BRCA2 c.3G>A) as likely pathogenic, uncertain clinical significance for 7 variants, and indicated low clinical significance or unlikely pathogenicity for another 10 variants. Bioinformatic tools predicted disruption of consensus donor or acceptor sites with high sensitivity, but cryptic site usage was predicted with low specificity, supporting the value of RNA-based assays. The findings also provide further evidence that clinical RNA-based assays should be extended from analysis of invariant dinucleotides to routinely include all variants located within the donor and acceptor consensus splicing sites. Importantly, this study demonstrates the added value of collaboration between laboratories, and across disciplines, to collate and interpret information from clinical testing laboratories to consolidate patient management.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 07/2011; 132(3):1009-23. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation has so far only been reported in hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) families of Portuguese origin. Since this mutation is not detectable using the commonly used screening methodologies and must be specifically sought, we screened for this rearrangement in a total of 5,443 suspected HBOC families from several countries. Whereas the c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation was detected in 11 of 149 suspected HBOC families from Portugal, representing 37.9% of all deleterious mutations, in other countries it was detected only in one proband living in France and in four individuals requesting predictive testing living in France and in the USA, all being Portuguese immigrants. After performing an extensive haplotype study in carrier families, we estimate that this founder mutation occurred 558 ± 215 years ago. We further demonstrate significant quantitative differences regarding the production of the BRCA2 full length RNA and the transcript lacking exon 3 in c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation carriers and in controls. The cumulative incidence of breast cancer in carriers did not differ from that of other BRCA2 and BRCA1 pathogenic mutations. We recommend that all suspected HBOC families from Portugal or with Portuguese ancestry are specifically tested for this rearrangement.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 06/2011; 127(3):671-9. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although in recent years deleterious BRCA1 mutations have been extensively studied as a prostate cancer risk factor, results are inconclusive. To assess the contribution of the BRCA1 Galician founder mutation c.211A>G in prostate cancer morbidity we conducted a case-control study. Moreover, to better elucidate whether deleterious BRCA1 mutations are involved in the development of prostate cancer, we performed a systematic review and a meta-analysis of BRCA1 studies on prostate cancer. A total of 905 unselected men diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the prostate and a control group of 936 unrelated men without history of prostate cancer were evaluated for c.211A>G. Adjusted by age Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression. To construct the meta-analysis, genotype-based epidemiological studies reporting BRCA1 founder mutations on prostate cancer were identified by comprehensive and systematic bibliographic search. After extraction of relevant data, main and subgroup analysis by mutation were performed to assess the effect of BRCA1 on prostate cancer risk. Four c.211A>G heterozygous individuals, one patient and three controls, were detected (OR = 0.27; 95% CI: 0.01-2.36; P = 0.28). Meta-analysis results from the integration of our data and other seven studies with BRCA1 genotyping data (5,705 prostate cancer cases and 13,218 controls) did not detect an association with prostate cancer risk (OR = 1.36; 95% CI: 0.87-2.14; P = 0.18). Our conclusive trial demonstrates the lack of association between Galician splicing mutation c.211A>G in the BRCA1 gene and prostate cancer risk. Moreover, the result of the meta-analysis also discards the involvement of BRCA1 mutations in the development of prostate cancer.
    The Prostate 04/2011; 71(16):1768-79. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biallelic inactivation of ATM gene causes the rare autosomal recessive disorder Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). Female relatives of A-T patients have a two-fold higher risk of developing breast cancer (BC) compared with the general population. ATM mutation carrier identification is laborious and expensive, therefore, a more rapid and directed strategy for ATM mutation profiling is needed. We designed a case-control study to determine the prevalence of 32 known ATM mutations causing A-T in Spanish population in 323 BRCA1/BRCA2 negative hereditary breast cancer (HBC) cases and 625 matched Spanish controls. For the detection of the 32 ATM mutations we used the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry technique. We identified one patient carrier of the c.8264_8268delATAAG ATM mutation. This mutation was not found in the 625 controls. These results suggest a low frequency of these 32 A-T causing mutations in the HBC cases in our population. Further case-control studies analyzing the entire coding and flanking sequences of the ATM gene are warranted in Spanish BC patients to know its implication in BC predisposition.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 03/2011; 128(2):573-9. · 4.47 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Genetics 11/2009; 77(2):193-6. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental or lifestyle factors are likely to explain part of the heterogeneity in breast and ovarian cancer risk among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. We assessed parity as a risk modifier in 515 and 503 Spanish female carriers of mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, respectively. Hazard ratios (HR) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using weighted Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusted for year of birth and study centre. The results for ever being parous and number of live-births were very similar for carriers of mutations in both genes. For all mutation carriers combined, the estimated HR associated with ever having had a live-birth was 0.74 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.55-1.01, P = 0.06), and that associated with each live-birth was 0.87 (95%CI = 0.77-0.98, P = 0.02). The latter association was observed only in women aged 40 and above (HR = 0.81, 95%CI = 0.70-0.94, P = 0.004 vs. HR = 0.99, 95%CI = 0.83-1.18, P = 0.9 for women under age 40), and this trend was highly consistently observed for carriers of mutations in each gene. There was no evidence of an association between breast cancer risk and age at first birth for parous BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers (P-trend >or= 0.3). The power to detect associations with ovarian cancer risk was much lower, especially for BRCA2 mutation carriers. Nevertheless, having a live-birth was associated with protection for BRCA1 mutation carriers (HR = 0.41, 95%CI = 0.18-0.94, P = 0.03), and a strong and consistent protective effect of age at first birth was observed for parous carriers of mutations in both genes (HR = 0.65, 95%CI = 0.52-0.83, P < 0.001). This is the third independent study to find that, as in the general population, parity appears to be associated with protection from breast cancer in women with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. Parity appears to be protective for ovarian cancer in BRCA1 mutation carriers, but its role in BRCA2 mutation carriers remains unclear. Whether later age at first birth is also protective for ovarian cancer in mutation carriers requires further confirmation.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 04/2009; 119(1):221-32. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    The Pharmacogenomics Journal 01/2009; · 5.13 Impact Factor