Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 839–846 | Cite as

Reproductive factors and risk of contralateral breast cancer by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status: results from the WECARE study

  • Jenny N. Poynter
  • Bryan Langholz
  • Joan Largent
  • Lene Mellemkjær
  • Leslie Bernstein
  • Kathleen E. Malone
  • Charles F. Lynch
  • Åke Borg
  • Patrick Concannon
  • Sharon N. Teraoka
  • Shanyan Xue
  • Anh T. Diep
  • Therese Törngren
  • Colin B. Begg
  • Marinela Capanu
  • Robert W. Haile
  • The WECARE Study Collaborative Group
  • Jonine L. Bernstein
Original paper



Reproductive factors, such as early age at menarche, late age at menopause, and nulliparity are known risk factors for breast cancer. Previously, we reported these factors to be associated with risk of developing contralateral breast cancer (CBC). In this study, we evaluated the association between these factors and CBC risk among BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation carriers and non-carriers.


The WECARE Study is a population-based multi-center case–control study of 705 women with CBC (cases) and 1,397 women with unilateral breast cancer (controls). All participants were screened for BRCA1/2 mutations and 181 carriers were identified. Conditional logistic regression models were used to evaluate associations between reproductive factors and CBC for mutation carriers and non-carriers.


None of the associations between reproductive factors and CBC risk differed between mutation carriers and non-carriers. The increase in risk with younger age at menarche and decrease in risk in women with more than two full-term pregnancies seen in non-carriers were not significantly different in carriers (adjusted RRs = 1.31, 95% CI 0.65–2.65 and 0.53, 95% CI 0.19–1.51, respectively). No significant associations between the other reproductive factors and CBC risk were observed in mutation carriers or non-carriers.


For two reproductive factors previously shown to be associated with CBC risk, we observed similar associations for BRCA1/2 carriers. This suggests that reproductive variables that affect CBC risk may have similar effects in mutation carriers and non-carriers.


Contralateral breast cancer BRCA1 BRCA2 Reproductive factors 



This work was supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI) R01CA097397 and NCI U01CA083178. JNP was supported by NCI T32 CA009142.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny N. Poynter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bryan Langholz
    • 1
  • Joan Largent
    • 3
  • Lene Mellemkjær
    • 4
  • Leslie Bernstein
    • 5
  • Kathleen E. Malone
    • 6
  • Charles F. Lynch
    • 7
  • Åke Borg
    • 8
  • Patrick Concannon
    • 9
  • Sharon N. Teraoka
    • 9
  • Shanyan Xue
    • 1
  • Anh T. Diep
    • 1
  • Therese Törngren
    • 8
  • Colin B. Begg
    • 10
  • Marinela Capanu
    • 10
  • Robert W. Haile
    • 1
  • The WECARE Study Collaborative Group
  • Jonine L. Bernstein
    • 10
  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical ResearchUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Cancer EpidemiologyDanish Cancer SocietyCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population SciencesCity of Hope National Medical Center/Beckman Research InstituteDuarteUSA
  6. 6.Division of Public Health SciencesFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  7. 7.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityIowa
  8. 8.Department of OncologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  9. 9.Center for Public Health Genomics and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  10. 10.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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