Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC): review of its molecular characteristics, screening, treatment, and prognosis

Breast Cancer. 2021 Nov;28(6):1167-1180. doi: 10.1007/s12282-020-01148-2. Epub 2020 Aug 29.


Breast cancer is a common cancer affecting a large number of patients. Notably, 5-10% of all breast cancer patients are genetically predisposed to cancers. Although the most common breast cancer susceptibility genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are also associated with the risk of developing ovarian and pancreatic cancer, advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis technology enabled the discovery of several non-BRCA genes responsible for breast and ovarian cancers. Studies on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) involve not only determining the predisposition to developing cancer, but also considering the current treatment for breast cancer, prevention of next cancer, risk diagnosis, and adoption of protective measures for relatives. We present a comprehensive review of HBOC, which will be a useful resource in the clinical setting. Many hereditary tumors, including HBOC, are syndromes characterized by the development of different types of cancer in succession. Taking advantage of knowing predisposition of susceptibility to cancer, it is important to continue and update cancer management protocols, which includes the adoption of preventive measures, countermeasures, and treatments, to accurately assess and prevent the impact of cancer on the quality of life of the next generation of patients.

Keywords: BRCA; BRCA1/2 mutations; HBOC; Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / genetics*
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / pathology
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Risk Assessment


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