Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 221–228 | Cite as

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

  • Joanne Kotsopoulos
  • Jan Lubinski
  • Henry T. Lynch
  • Jan Klijn
  • Parviz Ghadirian
  • Susan L. Neuhausen
  • Charmaine Kim-Sing
  • William D. Foulkes
  • Pal Moller
  • Claudine Isaacs
  • Susan Domchek
  • Susan Randall
  • Kenneth Offit
  • Nadine Tung
  • Peter Ainsworth
  • Ruth Gershoni-Baruch
  • Andrea Eisen
  • Mary Daly
  • Beth Karlan
  • Howard M. Saal
  • Fergus Couch
  • Barbara Pasini
  • Teresa Wagner
  • Eitan Friedman
  • Gad Rennert
  • Charis Eng
  • Jeffrey Weitzel
  • Ping Sun
  • Steven A. NarodEmail author
  • The Hereditary Breast Cancer Clinical Study Group
Research Paper


An early age at first full-term birth is associated with a reduction in the subsequent development of breast cancer among women in the general population. A similar effect has not yet been reported among women who carry an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. We conducted a matched case–control study on 1816 pairs of women with a BRCA1 (n = 1405) or BRCA2 (n = 411) mutation in an attempt to elucidate the relationship between age at first full-term pregnancy and the risk of developing breast cancer. Information about the age at first childbirth and other pregnancy-related variables was derived from a questionnaire administered to women during the course of genetic counselling. There was no difference in the mean age at first full-term birth in the cases and controls (24.9 years vs. 24.8 years; P = 0.81, respectively). Compared to women whose first child was born at or before 18 years of age, a later age at first full-term birth did not influence the risk of developing breast cancer (OR = 1.00 per year; 95% CI 0.98–1.03; P-trend = 0.67). Stratification by mutation status did not affect the results. These findings suggest that an early first full-term birth does not confer protection against breast cancer in BRCA mutation carriers. Nonetheless, BRCA mutation carriers opting for a prophylactic oophorectomy as a breast and/or ovarian cancer risk-reducing strategy should complete childbearing prior to age 40 when this prevention modality is most effective.


BRCA1 BRCA2 Age at first birth Breast cancer Case–control study 



Joanne Kotsopoulos is supported by a fellowship from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Ontario Chapter. Charis Eng is a recipient of the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award. Susan L. Neuhausen is supported by NIH CA74415.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne Kotsopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Lubinski
    • 3
  • Henry T. Lynch
    • 4
  • Jan Klijn
    • 5
  • Parviz Ghadirian
    • 6
    • 7
  • Susan L. Neuhausen
    • 8
  • Charmaine Kim-Sing
    • 9
  • William D. Foulkes
    • 10
  • Pal Moller
    • 11
  • Claudine Isaacs
    • 12
  • Susan Domchek
    • 13
  • Susan Randall
    • 14
  • Kenneth Offit
    • 15
  • Nadine Tung
    • 16
  • Peter Ainsworth
    • 17
  • Ruth Gershoni-Baruch
    • 18
  • Andrea Eisen
    • 19
  • Mary Daly
    • 20
  • Beth Karlan
    • 21
  • Howard M. Saal
    • 22
  • Fergus Couch
    • 23
  • Barbara Pasini
    • 24
  • Teresa Wagner
    • 25
    • 26
  • Eitan Friedman
    • 27
    • 28
  • Gad Rennert
    • 29
  • Charis Eng
    • 30
    • 31
  • Jeffrey Weitzel
    • 32
  • Ping Sun
    • 1
  • Steven A. Narod
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • The Hereditary Breast Cancer Clinical Study Group
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Women’s HealthWomen’s College Hospital, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Hereditary Cancer CenterPomeranian Medical UniversitySzczecinPoland
  4. 4.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public HealthCreighton University School of MedicineOmahaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Medical OncologyRotterdam Cancer InstituteDaniel Den Hoed KliniekThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Epidemiology Research Unit, Research CentreCentre Hospitalier de l’Universitaire Montréal, CHUM Hôtel DieuMontrealCanada
  7. 7.Département de NutritionFaculte du Medicine, University of MontrealMontrealCanada
  8. 8.Epidemiology Division, Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  9. 9.British Columbia Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada
  10. 10.Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, and OncologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  11. 11.Department of Cancer GeneticsNorwegian Radium HospitalOsloNorway
  12. 12.Lombardi Cancer CenterGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  13. 13.Departments of Hematology and OncologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  14. 14.Department of Gynecologic OncologyPrincess Margaret HospitalTorontoCanada
  15. 15.Department of Human Genetics and MedicineMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  16. 16.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  17. 17.London Regional Program, London Health Sciences CentreLondonCanada
  18. 18.Institute of GeneticsRambam Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  19. 19.Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer CenterTorontoCanada
  20. 20.Division of Population ScienceFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  21. 21.Gynecology Oncology, Cedars Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  22. 22.Hereditary Cancer Program, Division of Human GeneticsChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  23. 23.Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  24. 24.Section of GeneticsUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  25. 25.Division of Senology, Department of GynecologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  26. 26.Private Trust for Breast HealthViennaAustria
  27. 27.The Suzanne Levy Gertner Oncogenetics UnitThe Chaim Sheba Medical CenterTel-HashomerIsrael
  28. 28.The Sackler School of MedicineTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  29. 29.National Cancer Control Center, Carmel Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  30. 30.Clinical Cancer Genetics Program, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Division of Human Genetics, Department of Internal MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  31. 31.Genomic Medicine InstituteCleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  32. 32.Department of Cancer GeneticsCity of Hope National Medical CenterDuarteUSA

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