Modifying effect of reproductive risk factors on the age at onset of breast cancer for German BRCA1 mutation carriers

Division of Epidemiology 0345, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Heidelberg, Germany.
Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 3.08). 06/1997; 123(5):272-9. DOI: 10.1007/BF01208638
Source: PubMed


Female carriers of mutations in the BRCA1 gene on chromosome 17q have a very high risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer during their lifetime. There is, however, little knowledge of to what extent non-genetic risk factors, such as age at menarche, age at first birth, and body mass index, alter the age at onset of disease. We identified individuals showing a high probability of linkage to BRCA1 and examined the effect of other known risk factors on disease risk. A total of 43 families with at least three breast or ovarian cancer cases, including two affected before 60 years of age, were studied for linkage to the susceptibility locus BRCA1. Blood samples from relevant family members were used to genotype for at least three chromosome 17q polymorphic markers. Information on reproductive history, hormone use and lifestyle factors was collected from female members using a self-administered questionnaire. Diagnoses of breast and ovarian cancer were verified through pathology reports and paraffin blocks were obtained when available. Multipoint LOD (logarithm of the odds) scores were calculated and individuals from 10 families with a posteriori probability for linkage greater than 0.90 were used for further analysis. Forty-six BRCA1 carriers were identified by the disease haplotype; 30 were affected with breast cancer and 5 with ovarian cancer. Proportional- hazards analysis of age at onset of breast cancer yielded increased relative risks of 1.74 for early age at menarche (< 14 years), 1.58 for late age at first birth (> or = 25 years) or nulliparity, and 2.78 for recent year of birth (> or = 1940); however, none of the risk estimates was statistically significant. When both breast and ovarian cancer were considered as disease endpoints, the birth cohort effect was stronger and age at first birth showed no effect. Our data provide some evidence that reproductive risk factors for breast cancer have an effect on age at onset for BRCA1 carriers. However, considering that our analyses were based on limited numbers, these results warrant further clarification.

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    • "Breast cancer risk in the general population is closely related to reproductive history, and reproductive factors are therefore strong candidates for modifiers of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. In particular, increasing parity has been shown to be protective for breast cancer in the general population in many studies [5-7], but its effect among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers is still under debate [8-14]. In this report we have used data from 810 BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers from the UK to assess the effect of parity on breast cancer risk. "
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing parity and age at first full-term pregnancy are established risk factors for breast cancer in the general population. However, their effects among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers is still under debate. We used retrospective data on BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers from the UK to assess the effects of parity-related variables on breast cancer risk. The data set included 457 mutation carriers who developed breast cancer (cases) and 332 healthy mutation carriers (controls), ascertained through families seen in genetic clinics. Hazard ratios were estimated by using a weighted cohort approach. Parous BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers were at a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer (hazard ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 0.81; p = 0.002). The protective effect was observed only among carriers who were older than 40 years. Increasing age at first live birth was associated with an increased breast cancer risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers (p trend = 0.002) but not BRCA1 carriers. However, the analysis by age at first live birth was based on small numbers. The results suggest that the relative risks of breast cancer associated with parity among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers may be similar to those in the general population and that reproductive history may be used to improve risk prediction in carriers.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    • "Only two studies have evaluated the association between anthropometric risk factors or physical activity and the risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 carriers [4,38]. King and colleagues recently reported that a healthy weight defined at menarche and at age 21, as well as physical activity during adolescence, were associated with a significant delay in the age of onset of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers; however, such an effect could be attributable to either weight gain increasing the risk of early-onset breast cancer or to weight gain protecting against late-onset breast cancer [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Several anthropometric measures have been found to be associated with the risk of breast cancer. Current weight, body mass index, and adult weight gain appear to be predictors of postmenopausal breast cancer. These factors have been associated with a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. We asked whether there is an association between changes in body weight and the risk of breast cancer in women who carry a mutation in either breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA1 or BRCA2. A matched case-control study was conducted in 1,073 pairs of women carrying a deleterious mutation in either BRCA1 (n = 797 pairs) or BRCA2 (n = 276 pairs). Women diagnosed with breast cancer were matched to control subjects by year of birth, mutation, country of residence, and history of ovarian cancer. Information about weight was derived from a questionnaire routinely administered to women who were carriers of a mutation in either gene. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the association between weight gain or loss and the risk of breast cancer, stratified by age at diagnosis or menopausal status. A loss of at least 10 pounds in the period from age 18 to 30 years was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer between age 30 and 49 (odds ratio (OR) = 0.47; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28-0.79); weight gain during the same interval did not influence the overall risk. Among the subgroup of BRCA1 mutation carriers who had at least two children, weight gain of more than 10 pounds between age 18 and 30 was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer diagnosed between age 30 and 40 (OR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.01-2.04). Change in body weight later in life (at age 30 to 40) did not influence the risk of either premenopausal or postmenopausal breast cancer. The results from this study suggest that weight loss in early adult life (age 18 to 30) protects against early-onset BRCA-associated breast cancers. Weight gain should also be avoided, particularly among BRCA1 mutation carriers who elect to have at least two pregnancies.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2005 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    • "Several mechanisms may lead to reduced penetrance. The examined patients may share a genetic, reproductive or environmental background that modifies the mutation penetrance and risk of early onset of disease [2] [11] "
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    ABSTRACT: A total of 845 women from breast-ovarian cancer kindreds were enrolled in a clinical follow-up program for early disease diagnosis; 35 women were prospectively identified with cancer. In order to estimate the role of genetic factors for cancer predisposition in this well-defined set of patients, considered as representative for familial breast-ovarian cancer in the Norwegian population, the BRCA1 gene was investigated for germline mutations. The entire coding region of BRCA1 was analysed using a protein truncation test, direct sequencing and a screen for known large genomic deletions and insertions. Twenty one (60%) of the 35 patients were identified as carriers of 11 distinct BRCA1 mutations. Two previously described founder mutations, 1675delA and 1135insA, were found to account for more than half (11/21) of all BRCA1 cases and for almost one third (11/35) of all breast and ovarian cancers. Supported by a previous population-based analysis of these founder mutations in ovarian cancer, our findings suggest that a significant proportion of women at risk for developing inherited breast and ovarian cancer can be identified. This is particularly obvious in certain geographic regions where these founder mutations are prevalent. Women carrying the two founder mutations had a significantly older age of disease onset as compared to women with other BRCA1 mutations. This observation indicates that BRCA mutation penetrance estimates from populations with strong founder effects may be biased. One reason why some deleterious mutations are allowed to prevail in a population may be coupled to penetrance and the fact that they seldom induce disease in women in child-bearing ages. Eleven out of 12 (92%) breast cancers in BRCA1 mutation carriers were estrogen receptor negative, versus 4 out of 9 (44%) in mutation negative patients (p = 0.03). Histopathological characteristics of the prospectively detected cancers indicated an unfavourable prognosis in mutation carriers.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 1999 · Disease markers
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