FORCE’s eXamining the Relevance of Articles for Young Survivors (XRAYS) program is a reliable resource for breast cancer research-related news and information. XRAYS reviews new breast cancer research, provides plain-language summaries, and rates how the media covered the topic. XRAYS is funded by the CDC.
Breast cancer survivors
Women under 45
Women over 45
Men with breast cancer
Metastatic breast cancer
Triple negative breast cancer
BRCA mutation carriers
Her2+ breast cancer
People with a genetic mutation linked to cancer risk
Special populations: Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer
Carrying a BRCA gene mutation increases the risk of cancer in both women and men. Such information is valuable for people diagnosed with cancer and can affect medical decisions for both the patient and his or her family members. Approximately 2% of people of Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern European) descent carry one of three common
BRCA gene mutations. For Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer who do not carry one of the three common BRCA mutations, little is known about their chance of carrying another hereditary mutation that may increase risk. This study looked at how often Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer were found to carry mutations other than the three common BRCA gene mutations found among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. (09/13/17)
The benefit of doing additional genetic testing for Jewish breast cancer survivors who tested negative for the three common Jewish
BRCA mutations. Researchers wanted to examine if additional genetic testing would find other inherited mutations within BRCA1, BRCA2, or in other genes that also increase risk of breast cancer.
A founder mutation are a mutation that is common in people of a distinct population. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population, three founder mutations, two in
BRCA1 and one in BRCA2 have been identified. Ashkenazi Jewish women who carry one of these mutations are at much greater risk of being diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer than Ashkenazi women who do not carry a founder mutation. Having this information can help guide women in their breast cancer treatment choices. But what about Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer who test negative for the BRCA founder mutations? What is the chance they may have inherited a unique BRCA mutation or a mutation in another breast cancer gene? How does knowing this additional genetic information affect their medical decisions and health outcomes?
Both men and women who carry a BRCA mutation have a significantly increased lifetime risk of several types of cancer. People of any race or ethnicity can test positive for a
BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Between 1 in 400 and 1 in 800 people in the general U.S. population has an inherited BRCA mutation. That number increases to about 1 in 40 among people of Eastern European Jewish descent. However, many Ashkenazi Jewish women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer test negative for the three founder mutations. In the past, when the cost of genetic testing was much higher, Jewish people with breast cancer sometimes might only undergo limited genetic testing looking only for the three most common founder mutations. Drs. Tom Walsh, Mary-Claire King, and colleagues published a retrospective study in JAMA-Oncology looking at mutations in known and suspected breast cancer genes among the New York Breast Cancer Study Participants. They wanted to know if these women would benefit from genetic sequencing of all breast cancer genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, in addition to targeted testing for the Jewish BRCA founder mutations.
How common are unique mutations in
BRCA1 and BRCA2 and how common are mutations in other breast cancer genes in Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer?
Researchers looked at DNA and data collected from 1996-2000 from 1,007 participants in the New York Breast Cancer Study (NYBCS). All participants were
Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and were not selected based on family history or age at diagnosis. Their DNA had previously been studied for the three common Jewish BRCA mutations. In this new study, researchers used a panel test to identify unique mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and other genes known to increase breast cancer risk. They looked at results based on BRCA status, family history, and age at diagnosis.
Of the 1,007 patients in the study:
The results of this study suggest that
Ashkenazi Jewish women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have tested negative for the three BRCA founder mutations should talk to their health care provider to see if they should consider genetic testing for other mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 as well as other breast cancer genes. Share this study with your health care provider to see if additional genetic testing makes sense for you.
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Walsh T, Mandell JB, Norquist BM, Casadei S, Gulsuner S, Lee MK, King MC. Genetic Predisposition to Breast Cancer Due to Mutations Other Than
BRCA1 and BRCA2 Founder Alleles Among Ashkenazi Jewish Women. JAMA Oncol. 2017. Jul 20. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.1996. [Epub ahead of print]
Cancer Risk: Breast Cancer
Hereditary Cancer: Hereditary Cancer & Genetics
Hereditary Cancer: Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer
Hereditary Cancer: Genes Associated with Hereditary Cancer
Who Should Consider Genetic Testing? Genetic testing for people who are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry
Who Should Consider Genetic Testing? Genetic testing for women with breast cancer
Special Populations: Jewish People