Breast cancer not 100% inherited: Study

October 20, 2017

???I am really happy to see a relatively large, well done study begin to put an end to this controversy,??? said Dr. David Euhus, professor of surgical oncology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. ???These results make sense. Women from BRCA families who did not inherit the mutation can still get breast cancer, but their risk is no where near as high as their relatives who did inherit the mutation.???

???Women with a family history of breast cancer are understandably worried about their own risk of developing breast cancer,??? Dr. Harold Burstein, breast oncologist at Dana-Farber Institute at Boston, said. ???This study provides strong reassurance that 'no means no' when it comes to negative results on the BRCA1 / BRCA2 genetic tests for these patients. That is, despite the family history, the risk of breast cancer is not greater than that for ordinary women in similar circumstances when the genetic test is 'normal,'??? he added.

Genetic testing is stressful for many patients, said Dr. Hope Rugo, director of breast oncology and clinical trials education at UCSF. It's critical that once patients undergo testing, they're able to feel confident about what the results mean - whether they're positive for a BRCA mutation and need more follow-up, or they're negative and can trust that their risk of developing cancer is still relatively low. While Rugo wasn't surprised by the results of the Stanford study, she said she appreciates the reassurance it provides. ???It's important to remember that women have a relatively small risk of inheriting the same gene??? as a family member with the mutation, Rugo said. ???If they did inherit it, there are things they can do to protect themselves. And if they didn't, they're free. They fall back into the general population.???