Contralateral breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers

J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jun 15;22(12):2328-35. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2004.04.033.


Purpose: To estimate the risk of contralateral breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers after diagnosis and to determine which factors are predictive of the risk of a second primary breast cancer.

Patients and methods: Patients included 491 women with stage I or stage II breast cancer, for whom a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation had been identified in the family. Patients were followed from the initial diagnosis of cancer until contralateral mastectomy, contralateral breast cancer, death, or last follow-up.

Results: The actuarial risk of contralateral breast cancer was 29.5% at 10 years. Factors that were predictive of a reduced risk were the presence of a BRCA2 mutation (v BRCA1 mutation; hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.15); age 50 years or older at first diagnosis (v <or= 49 years; HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.36 to 1.10); use of tamoxifen (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.35 to 1.01); and history of oophorectomy (HR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.21 to 0.91). The effect of oophorectomy was particularly strong in women first diagnosed prior to age 49 years (HR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.77). For women who did not have an oophorectomy or take tamoxifen, the 10-year risk of contralateral cancer was 43.4% for BRCA1 carriers and 34.6% for BRCA2 carriers.

Conclusion: The risk of contralateral breast cancer in women with a BRCA mutation is approximately 40% at 10 years, and is reduced in women who take tamoxifen or who undergo an oophorectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use


  • Tamoxifen