No signs of subclinical atherosclerosis after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers

J Cardiol. 2021 Jun;77(6):570-575. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2020.11.005. Epub 2020 Nov 20.


Background: BRCA1/2 mutation carriers are generally exposed to early menopause due to risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) around the age of 40 years. This risk-reducing intervention is based on a 10-40% life-time risk of ovarian cancer in this population. Although effective, premature and acute menopause induces non-cancer related morbidity in both the short and long term. Little is known about the impact of RRSO on the cardiovascular system.

Methods: This cross-sectional study explored the relationship between time since RRSO and signs of subclinical atherosclerosis, as measured by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and pulse wave velocity (PWV), in 165 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. All participants, aged 40 to 63 years, underwent RRSO before the age of 45 years, and at least 5 years ago. Cardiovascular risk factors were assessed by questionnaires and a single screening visit. Data were analyzed using linear regression models.

Results: Mean CIMT was 692.7 μm (SD 87.0), and mean central PWV 6.40 m/s (SD 1.42). After adjustment for age and several relevant cardiovascular risk factors, time since RRSO was not associated with CIMT (β=0.68 μm; 95% CI -4.02, 5.38) and PWV (β=44 mm/s; 95% CI -32, 120). Compared to women of a reference group from the general population, lower systolic blood pressure [mean difference 12 mmHg; 95% confidence interval (CI) 10, 14] was found in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.

Conclusions: We found that, in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, at 5 to 24 years follow-up, time since RRSO is not related to development of subclinical atherosclerosis. However, the follow-up period in these relatively young women might have been too short.

Keywords: BRCA1/2 mutation; Intima-media thickness; Pulse wave velocity; Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy; Subclinical atherosclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis* / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • BRCA1 Protein* / genetics
  • BRCA2 Protein* / genetics
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy*


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