Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 185–190 | Cite as

Relative contributions of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to “triple-negative” breast cancer in Ashkenazi Women

  • E. Comen
  • M. Davids
  • T. Kirchhoff
  • C. Hudis
  • K. Offit
  • M. Robson


Approximately 10% of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) women with breast cancer (BC) carry a founder mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. There is an association between BRCA1 mutations and “triple-negative” breast cancer (TNBC) [estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) negative, HER2 negative]. We sought to determine the predictive value of the TNBC phenotype for the presence of a BRCA mutation in AJ women ascertained without respect to family history. DNA samples were collected between 8/2000 and 6/2004 from a prevalent cohort of unselected AJ women with breast cancer (median age at diagnosis 56 years). Samples (n = 451) were genotyped for AJ founder mutations. 352 (78.0%) cancers were ER positive, 254 (56.3%) PR positive, and 91 (20.2%) ER negative/PR negative. 63 (14.0%) cancers were HER2 positive (immunohistochemistry 3+ or FISH >2.2). TNBC was observed in 64 patients (14.2%). Founder mutations were detected in 48 samples (10.6%) including 25/64 TNBC (39.1%; 19 BRCA1, 6 BRCA2). Among TNBC patients with family history (FH) information, 6/15 (40%) mutations were found in women without breast or ovarian cancer in a close relative. The positive predictive value of TNBC for a BRCA1 mutation was 30% overall, 50% in women diagnosed<50 years, and 14% in women diagnosed ≥50. TNBC was significantly associated with detecting a mutation in either BRCA1 or BRCA2, but only 25/52 (48%) mutation-associated cancers were TNBC. The prevalence of BRCA founder mutations exceeds 50% in subsets of AJ women with TNBC. FH is an imperfect predictor of mutation status in this group. A significant number of mutation-associated TNBC are due to BRCA2.


BRCA1 BRCA2 Ashkenazi Triple-negative breast cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Comen
    • 1
  • M. Davids
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. Kirchhoff
    • 1
  • C. Hudis
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. Offit
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Robson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA

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