BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations across race and ethnicity: distribution and clinical implications

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Feb;22(1):72-8. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328332dca3.


Purpose of review: To summarize evidence on the prevalence and spectrum of BRCA1 and BRCA2 BRCA1/2 mutations across racial and ethnic groups and discuss implications for clinical practice.

Recent findings: The prevalence of BRCA1/2 mutations is comparable among breast cancer patients of African, Asian, white, and Hispanic descent: approximately 1-4% per gene. Among ovarian cancer patients in North America, BRCA1/2 mutations are present in 13-15%. Between racial/ethnic groups, there are important differences in the spectrum of BRCA1 compared with BRCA2 mutations, in BRCA1/2 variants of uncertain significance, and in the accuracy of clinical models that predict BRCA1/2 mutation carriage.

Summary: Given the significant prevalence of BRCA1/2 mutations across race/ethnicity, there is a need to expand and customize genetic counseling, genetic testing, and follow-up care for members of all racial/ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pedigree
  • Prevalence