Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Characteristics Identified

Within BRCA1 carriers, Ashkenazi Jewish women about five times more likely to have TNBC

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- There are unique characteristics associated with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in both BRCA1 mutation carriers and non-carriers, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Eunjung Lee, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the distinguishing features of TNBC in women after accounting for BRCA1 mutation status. Sequencing data and information on tumor receptor status were collected for 1,167 women. Across patient subgroups, clinical, pathologic, and hormone-related lifestyle characteristics were compared.

The investigators identified TNBC in 48 and 12 percent of BRCA1 mutation carriers and non-carriers, respectively. Triple-negative receptor status was associated with younger age at diagnosis and higher tumor grade in both BRCA1 mutation carriers and non-carriers. Among non-carriers of the BRCA1 mutation, those with TNBC had higher premenopausal body mass index and earlier age at first full-term pregnancy compared to women without TBNC. Regardless of the BRCA1 mutation status, triple-negative status had no association with age at menarche and other reproductive factors. Among BRCA1 mutation carriers, Ashkenazi Jewish women had about a five times greater likelihood of having TNBC compared with non-Ashkenazi Jewish women.

"Among BRCA1 mutation carriers, as among non-carriers, there are unique characteristics associated with the triple-negative subtype," the authors write.

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