New thinking on BRCA treatment

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A study has found that patients with breast cancer who are young and the BRCA genes have the same chances of survival as those patients who don't have the BRCA genes.

This is the finding of a prospective cohort study led by the University of Southampton, UK.

And this might make women have some more control over their treatment.

It suggests that although women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age tend to have a poorer outlook, those who have BRCA gene faults aren't less likely to survive.

For this study, researchers followed more than 2,700 women recruited from more than a hundred British hospitals for almost a decade.

Patients were then followed up for an average of just over 8 years, which revealed similar survival across women in the study, regardless of their BRCA status, the researchers report in the Lancet Oncology.

Breast cancer survival was the same in young women with and without faulty BRCA genes, according to a new study.

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Eccles and her colleagues noted that the findings might not apply to older breast cancer patients with a BRCA mutation. "While there is now no cure for metastatic breast cancer, today's approval offers a new, targeted option that may help to delay disease progression for these patients". The test, which was previously cleared for ovarian cancer patients, identifies which breast cancer patients have BRCA mutations.

"Decisions about timing of additional surgery to reduce future cancer risks should take into account patient prognosis after their first cancer, and their personal preferences", she added.

BRCA gene mutations are particularly susceptible to cancer, drastically increasing the risk a woman will develop breast tumors from 12 percent to 90 percent.

AstraZeneca andMerck are working together to deliver Lynparza as quickly as possible to more patients across multiple settings, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers, a release stated. In that period, 678 women died - 651 due to breast cancer. This surgery did not appear to improve their chances of survival at the 10-year mark. After analyzing their DNA for the mutations, they checked in around the two-, five- and 10-year anniversary of each woman's diagnosis to see if she were still alive. "These risks determine treatment, and knowing that BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations do not result in a different prognosis might change the therapeutic approach for these risks". In addition, because triple-negative breast cancer was not well understood when the study was designed, it was therefore not powered for this as a primary outcome.

"The trial measured the length of time the tumors did not have significant growth after treatment [progression-free survival]", the agency explained.

The study was funded by Cancer Research UK, the UK National Cancer Research Network, the Wessex Cancer Trust, Breast Cancer Now, and the PPP Healthcare Medical Trust Grant.

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