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Keywords:

  • BRCA mutation;
  • pancreatic cancer;
  • breast cancer;
  • Ashkenazi Jewish;
  • mutation prevalence

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Germline mutations in the BRCA2 cancer susceptibility gene are associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer (PC). Breast-pancreas cancer families with BRCA1 mutations have also been observed. The influence of a family history (FH) of PC on BRCA mutation prevalence in patients with breast cancer (BC) is unknown.

METHODS:

A clinical database review (2000-2009) identified 211 Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) BC probands who 1) underwent BRCA1/2 mutation analysis by full gene sequencing or directed testing for Ashkenazi founder mutations (BRCA1: 185delAG and 5382insC; BRCA2: 6174delT) and 2) had a FH of PC in a first-, second-, or third-degree relative. For each proband, the pretest probability of identifying a BRCA1/2 mutation was estimated using the Myriad II model. The observed-to-expected (O:E) mutation prevalence was calculated for the entire group.

RESULTS:

Of the 211 AJ BC probands with a FH of PC, 30 (14.2%) harbored a BRCA mutation. Fourteen (47%) of the mutations were in BRCA1 and 16 (53%) were in BRCA2. Patients diagnosed with BC at age ≤ 50 years were found to have a higher BRCA1/2 mutation prevalence than probands with BC who were diagnosed at age > 50 years (21.1% vs 6.9%; P = .003). In patients with a first-, second-, or third-degree relative with PC, mutation prevalences were 15.4%, 15.3%, and 8.6%, respectively (P = .58). In the overall group, the observed BRCA1/2 mutation prevalence was 14.2% versus an expected prevalence of 11.8% (O:E ratio, 1.21; P = .15).

CONCLUSIONS:

BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are observed with nearly equal distribution in AJ breast-pancreas cancer families, suggesting that both genes are associated with PC risk. In this population, a FH of PC was found to have a limited effect on mutation prevalence. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.