Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 667–674 | Cite as

Age at menarche and the risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers

  • Joanne Kotsopoulos
  • Jan Lubinski
  • Henry T. Lynch
  • Susan L. Neuhausen
  • Parviz Ghadirian
  • Claudine Isaacs
  • Barbara Weber
  • Charmaine Kim-Sing
  • William D. Foulkes
  • Ruth Gershoni-Baruch
  • Peter Ainsworth
  • Eitan Friedman
  • Mary Daly
  • Judy E. Garber
  • Beth Karlan
  • Olufunmilayo I. Olopade
  • Nadine Tung
  • Howard M. Saal
  • Andrea Eisen
  • Michael Osborne
  • Hakan Olsson
  • Dawna Gilchrist
  • Ping Sun
  • Steven A. Narod


Age at menarche is a strong and consistent predictor of breast cancer risk in the general population, but has not been well studied in women with a family history of breast cancer. We conducted this study to examine whether the presence of a deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation influences age at menarche and to investigate whether or not there is an association between age at menarche and the risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers. The presence of a deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation did not appear to influence a woman’s age at menarche. A matched case–control study was conducted on 1311 pairs of women who have been identified to be carriers of a deleterious mutation in either the BRCA1 (n = 945 pairs) or the BRCA2 gene (n = 366 pairs). Information about age at menarche was derived from a questionnaire routinely administered to carriers of a mutation in either gene. Among women who carried a deleterious BRCA1 mutation, age at menarche was inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer (p trend = 0.0002). This association was not observed among BRCA2 mutation carriers (p trend = 0.49). Compared with BRCA1 carriers whose age at menarche was ≤11 years, women with a menarcheal age between 14 and 15 years old had a 54% reduction in risk (OR = 0.46; 95% CI 0.30–0.69). This study implicates early age at menarche as a determinant of breast cancer among women with a BRCA1 mutation.


BRCA1 BRCA2 age at menarche breast cancer case–control study reproductive modifiers. 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne Kotsopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Lubinski
    • 3
  • Henry T. Lynch
    • 4
  • Susan L. Neuhausen
    • 5
  • Parviz Ghadirian
    • 6
  • Claudine Isaacs
    • 7
  • Barbara Weber
    • 8
  • Charmaine Kim-Sing
    • 9
  • William D. Foulkes
    • 10
  • Ruth Gershoni-Baruch
    • 11
  • Peter Ainsworth
    • 12
  • Eitan Friedman
    • 13
  • Mary Daly
    • 14
  • Judy E. Garber
    • 15
  • Beth Karlan
    • 16
  • Olufunmilayo I. Olopade
    • 17
  • Nadine Tung
    • 18
  • Howard M. Saal
    • 19
  • Andrea Eisen
    • 20
  • Michael Osborne
    • 21
  • Hakan Olsson
    • 22
  • Dawna Gilchrist
    • 23
  • Ping Sun
    • 1
  • Steven A. Narod
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Women’s HealthUniversity of TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoOntarioCanada
  3. 3.Hereditary Cancer CenterPomeranian Medical UniversitySzczecinPoland
  4. 4.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public HealthCreighton University School of MedicineOmahaUSA
  5. 5.Epidemiology Division, Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  6. 6.Epidemiology Research Unit, Research CentreCentre Hospitalier de l’ Universitaire Montréal, CHUM Hôtel Dieu, Département de Nutrition, Faculte du MedicineQuebecCanada
  7. 7.Lombardi Cancer CenterGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  8. 8.British Columbia Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada
  9. 9.Abramson Family Cancer Research InstituteUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  10. 10.Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, and OncologyMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  11. 11.Institute of GeneticsRambam Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  12. 12.London Regional Cancer CenterLondonCanada
  13. 13.The Suzanne Levy Gertner Oncogenetics UnitThe Chaim Sheba Medical CenterTel-HashomerIsrael
  14. 14.Division of Population ScienceFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  15. 15.Dana Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  16. 16.Gynecology OncologyCedars Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesCA
  17. 17.Center for Clinical Cancer GeneticsUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  18. 18.Beth Isreal Medical CenterBostonUSA
  19. 19.Hereditary Cancer Program, Division of Human GeneticsChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  20. 20.Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  21. 21.Strang Cancer Prevention CenterNew YorkUSA
  22. 22.Jubileum Institute, Department of OncologyLund University HospitalLundSweden
  23. 23.Internal Medicine/Medical GeneticsWCM University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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