, Volume 134, Issue 10, pp 1113-1121
Date: 08 Apr 2008

Prevalence of pre-malignant and malignant lesions in prophylactic mastectomy specimens of BRCA1 mutation carriers: comparison with a control group

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



BRCA1 mutation carriers are at high risk for breast cancer (BC). The risk management strategy may include radiological investigations for early detection or prophylactic mastectomy (PM). For a mutation carrier, PM may be more significant than surveillance alone when pre-malignant and malignant changes occur increasingly in mastectomy specimens, given normal findings on radiological investigations. In the present study we retrospectively investigated the differences between histological findings in PM specimens of BRCA1 carriers and those of a control group.


Twenty-four healthy and 28 affected carriers in the presence of normal preoperative radiological findings were included in the study. To compare the frequency of pre-malignant and malignant lesions in PM specimens, a control group matched for age and disease status was included. T-tests for independent samples and Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test were used for comparison of groups.


The entire study group differed significantly from the control group (42.3 vs. 5.8%; P < 0.001) in terms of the occurrence of pre-malignant and malignant lesions. Both, the sub-group comparison of healthy mutation carriers as well as diseased carriers with their controls, showed a significant difference in terms of the occurrence of pre-malignant and malignant changes (45.8 vs. 0%; P = 0.002; 39.3 vs. 10.7%; P = 0.03). In PM specimens of mutation carriers, carcinomas were identified in 5.8% (3/52) and pre-malignant changes in 36.5% (19/52).


BRCA1 mutation carriers should be informed of the fact that pre-malignant and even malignant changes are frequently found in PM specimens despite normal radiological findings.