Risk reduction of contralateral breast cancer and survival after contralateral prophylactic mastectomy in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers

Br J Cancer. 2005 Aug 8;93(3):287-92. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602703.


The clinical outcome of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and a personal history of invasive breast cancer is unknown. We identified a cohort of 148 female BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers (115 and 33, respectively) who previously were treated for unilateral invasive breast cancer stages I-IIIa. In all, 79 women underwent a CPM, while the other women remained under intensive surveillance. The mean follow-up was 3.5 years and started at the time of CPM or at the date of mutation testing, whichever came last, that is, on average 5 years after diagnosis of the first breast cancer. One woman developed an invasive contralateral primary breast cancer after CPM, whereas six were observed in the surveillance group (P<0.001). Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy reduced the risk of contralateral breast cancer by 91%, independent of the effect of bilateral prophylactic oophorectomy (BPO). At 5 years follow-up, overall survival was 94% for the CPM group vs 77% for the surveillance group (P=0.03), but this was unexpectedly mostly due to higher mortality related with first breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the surveillance group. After adjustment for BPO in a multivariate Cox analysis, the CPM effect on overall survival was no longer significant. Our data show that CPM markedly reduces the risk of contralateral breast cancer among BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers with a history of breast cancer. Longer follow-up is needed to study the impact of CPM on contralateral breast cancer-specific survival. The choice for CPM is highly correlated with that for BPO, while only BPO leads to a significant improvement in overall survival so far.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy*
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / prevention & control*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Risk Factors


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein