Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

BRCA gene does not alter breast cancer survival rates

BRCA gene does not alter breast cancer survival rates

US regulators have approved the first drug aimed at women with advanced breast cancer caused by an inherited flawed gene. On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca PLC's Lynparza, the first drug aimed at women with advanced breast cancer caused by an inherited flawed gene.

But UK scientists have now found that while the chance of getting cancer rises, the chance of dying with that cancer does not increase.

The findings could influence the way doctors treat the disease.

Twelve percent of patients had either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Actually, those with a BRCA mutation had slightly higher survival rates for the first two years after diagnosis, in the case of patients with triple-negative breast cancer. The primary outcome was overall survival for all BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations carriers compared with all non-carriers at 2, 5, and 10 years post-diagnosis.

"However, risk-reducing surgery will still likely be beneficial for BRCA mutation carriers to prevent another new breast or ovarian cancer from developing in the longer term".

"While there is now no cure for metastatic breast cancer, today's approval offers a new, targeted option that may help to delay disease progression for these patients", Dr. Susan M. Domchek at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center said in a statement.

Women who are diagnosed with cancer could be spared aggressive surgery.

BRCA has been dubbed the "Angelina Jolie gene", after the actress revealed she underwent surgery on learning she had an up to 87% chance of developing breast cancer.

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"Women diagnosed with early breast cancer who carry a BRCA mutation are often offered double mastectomies soon after their diagnosis or chemotherapy treatment", said Diana Eccles of the University of Southampton.

Young women with breast cancer who carry faulty BRCA genes are no less likely to survive than those without them, researchers have found. A person's cancer risk can vary a lot depending on which mutation they have.

This was not affected by the women's body mass index or ethnicity. The hope is that by blocking the fix of cancer cells, the cells will die and slow or stop tumor growth, the FDA said in a news release Friday. Around 40 per cent increased risk.

More than 250,000 women in the United States are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 40,000 will die from it, according to estimates from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Some 89 per cent underwent chemotherapy. Most had chemotherapy, half has what's called breast-conserving surgery instead of a complete mastectomy, the other half had a full mastectomy and a very few did not have any surgery.

An expert said women should take time to decide if surgery was for them.

Katherine Woods of the Breast Cancer Now charity said: 'Coming somewhat as a surprise, this crucial new knowledge could enable many patients to make even more informed choices regarding their treatment.

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