Clinical and pathological characteristics of Chinese patients with BRCA related breast cancer

Hugo J. 2009 Dec;3(1-4):63-76. doi: 10.1007/s11568-010-9136-z. Epub 2010 Apr 10.


Breast cancers related to BRCA mutations are associated with particular biological features. Here we report the clinical and pathological characteristics of breast cancer in Chinese women with and without BRCA mutations and of carriers of BRCA1 mutations compared to BRCA2 mutations. Two hundred and 26 high-risk Hong Kong Chinese women were tested for BRCA mutations, medical information was obtained from medical records, and risk and demographic information was obtained from personal interviews. In this cohort, 28 (12.4%) women were BRCA mutation carriers and among these carriers, 39.3% were BRCA1 and 60.7% were BRCA2 mutations. Mutation carriers were more likely to have a familial history of breast and ovarian cancer, high-grade cancers, and triple negative (TN) cancers. Prevalence of TN was 48.3% in BRCA carriers and 25.6% in non-carriers and was 67.7% in BRCA1 and 35.3% in BRCA2 carriers. Estrogen receptor (ER) negative cancer was significantly associated with BRCA1 mutations, especially in those under 40 years of age. BRCA-related breast cancer in this Chinese population is associated with family history and adverse pathological/prognostic features, with BRCA2 mutations being more prevalent but BRCA1 carriers having more aggressive and TN cancers. Compared to Caucasian populations, prevalence of BRCA2 mutations and TN cancer in BRCA2 mutation carriers in Chinese population are elevated.

Keywords: BRCA mutation; Breast cancer; Chinese; Clinical features; Pathology.