Survival of breast cancer patients in BRCA1, BRCA2, and non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families: a relative survival analysis from Finland

Int J Cancer. 2001 Aug 1;93(3):368-72. doi: 10.1002/ijc.1341.


Reports on the prognosis of familial breast cancer patients have been contradictory. True differences in survival, if they exist, would have important implications for genetic counselling and in treatment of hereditary breast cancer. We assessed the survival rates of 359 familial breast cancer patients (32 patients from BRCA1-positive families, 43 patients from BRCA2-positive families and 284 patients from BRCA1/2-negative breast cancer families) and compared them with those of all other breast cancer patients diagnosed in Finland from 1953 to 1995 (n = 59,517). Cumulative relative survival rates (RSR) were calculated by dividing the observed survival rates by the expected ones. The expected survival rates were derived from the sex, age and calendar year specific life-tables of the general population in Finland. Regression model was used to calculate relative excess risk of death (RR) and to adjust for confounding factors. The overall 5-year RSR of the patients in the BRCA1 families, BRCA2 families, non-BRCA1/2 families and among sporadic cases was 67%, 77%, 86% and 78%, respectively. However, we found no significant differences in the RR adjusted for age, stage and year of diagnosis between the different familial patient groups or the general breast cancer population. In the BRCA1 families the RR tended to be higher [RR 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63--2.70] and in the BRCA2 families lower (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.39--1.57) than among the general breast cancer patient population. The RR among patients in the non-BRCA1/2 families did not differ from that of the general patient population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genes, BRCA1 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Pedigree
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transcription Factors