Prospectively detected cancer in familial breast/ovarian cancer screening

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1999 Nov;78(10):906-11.


Background: Early diagnosis and treatment are shown to improve survival of breast and ovarian cancer. Identification and medical follow-up of high-risk groups may be important for early diagnosis.

Methods: A prospective study of 845 women from breast/ovarian- and ovarian cancer kindreds who were classified according to pre-set inclusion criteria (Table I), were offered genetic counseling and annual medical examinations of breasts and ovaries. The material consisted of three series: 1) 754 unaffected women, 2) 49 women with breast cancer, and 3) 42 women with ovarian cancer.

Results: In series 1) nine ovarian cancers and 20 breast cancers, in series 2) seven ovarian cancers, and in series 3) three breast cancers were found. All but one of the ovarian cancers were 40 years or older, and 4/16 (25%) were Borderline cancer. All breast cancers were 30 years or older, and 89% were detected before spread.

Conclusions: This is to our knowledge the first prospective report of the combined breast/ovarian cancer findings in breast/ovarian cancer kindreds. A woman with both breast and ovarian cancer is the hallmark of inherited breast/ovarian cancer, and 50% of the ovarian cancers were detected in these families. Borderline ovarian cancer may represent a manifestation of this syndrome. If prophylactic oophorectomy prevents ovarian cancer, oophorectomy at age 45 would have prevented 75% of such cancers. Based on these results we revised our protocol for annual follow-up in these kindreds: 1) clinical breast examination and mammography (ultrasound/cytology if indicated) from 30 years of age, 2) gynecologic examination (including vaginal ultrasound, serum-CA125) from 35 years of age, and 3) discuss oophorectomy at 45 years of age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • CA-125 Antigen / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary


  • CA-125 Antigen