BACKGROUND: Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 confer an increased risk to breast and other cancers, but to date there have only been limited numbers of studies of BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated cancers among Asians. Malaysia is a multiracial country with three main races: Malays, Chinese, Indians. We determined whether tumor pathologic features and clinical features differ in patients with and without BRCA mutations in this Asian population.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of 152 women with breast cancer who underwent genetic testing for BRCA mutations. The patients self-reported ethnicity, age at onset, and clinical stage at diagnosis and tumor pathology were reviewed.
RESULTS: A total of 31 patients carried germline deleterious mutations (16 BRCA1, 15 BRCA2). We found that tumors in BRCA1 carriers were more likely to be estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and progesterone receptor (PR)-negative. HER2 was more likely to be negative in both BRCA1 and BRCA2 subjects compared with non-BRCA subjects. We found a strong association between triple-negative status and BRCA1 carriers. In addition, tumors in BRCA1 carriers were more likely to be higher grade than those in BRCA2 and non-BRCA carriers; but the difference was not statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that tumors associated with BRCA1 mutations are distinct from those of BRCA2-associated and non-BRCA-associated breast cancers, and that the tumors associated with BRCA2 mutations are similar to the non-BRCA-associated breast cancers. Further studies are required to determine if the prognosis is different in each of these groups and the best management strategy for each group.