Pregnancy After Breast Cancer in Patients With Germline BRCA Mutations

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Sep 10;38(26):3012-3023. doi: 10.1200/JCO.19.02399. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


Purpose: Young women with germline BRCA mutations have unique reproductive challenges. Pregnancy after breast cancer does not increase the risk of recurrence; however, very limited data are available in patients with BRCA mutations. This study investigated the impact of pregnancy on breast cancer outcomes in patients with germline BRCA mutations.

Patients and methods: This is an international, multicenter, hospital-based, retrospective cohort study. Eligible patients were diagnosed between January 2000 and December 2012 with invasive early breast cancer at age ≤ 40 years and harbored deleterious germline BRCA mutations. Primary end points were pregnancy rate, and disease-free survival (DFS) between patients with and without a pregnancy after breast cancer. Pregnancy outcomes and overall survival (OS) were secondary end points. Survival analyses were adjusted for guarantee-time bias controlling for known prognostic factors.

Results: Of 1,252 patients with germline BRCA mutations (BRCA1, 811 patients; BRCA2, 430 patients; BRCA1/2, 11 patients) included, 195 had at least 1 pregnancy after breast cancer (pregnancy rate at 10 years, 19%; 95% CI, 17% to 22%). Induced abortions and miscarriages occurred in 16 (8.2%) and 20 (10.3%) patients, respectively. Among the 150 patients who gave birth (76.9%; 170 babies), pregnancy complications and congenital anomalies occurred in 13 (11.6%) and 2 (1.8%) cases, respectively. Median follow-up from breast cancer diagnosis was 8.3 years. No differences in DFS (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.61 to 1.23; P = .41) or OS (adjusted HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.50 to 1.56; P = .66) were observed between the pregnancy and nonpregnancy cohorts.

Conclusion: Pregnancy after breast cancer in patients with germline BRCA mutations is safe without apparent worsening of maternal prognosis and is associated with favorable fetal outcomes. These results provide reassurance to patients with BRCA-mutated breast cancer interested in future fertility.

Trial registration: NCT03673306.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Live Birth
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human

Associated data