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Rates of BRCA Mutation Testing Increasing in Young Women

Among young women diagnosed with breast cancer, frequency of testing >95 percent in 2013

THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Among young women with breast cancer, the rates of BRCA mutation testing are increasing, according to research published online Feb. 11 in JAMA Oncology.

Shoshana M. Rosenberg, Sc.D., M.P.H., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues describe the use of BRCA testing using a cross-sectional analysis of data. Participants included 897 women aged 40 years and younger at breast cancer diagnosis.

The researchers found that 87.0 percent of women reported BRCA testing by one year after diagnosis, with increasing frequency of testing among women diagnosed from Aug. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2013. About three-quarters (76.9 percent) of the 39 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 reported testing. The percentage of women undergoing testing was 70.2 percent in 2007, then increased in each subsequent year, with 96.6 and 95.3 percent of women reporting BRCA testing in 2012 and 2013, respectively (P < 0.001). Of the untested women, 31.6 percent did not report discussion about having a mutation with a physician and/or genetic counselor; 36.8 percent were thinking about testing in the future. A total of 29.8 percent of women said that surgical treatment decisions were influenced by knowledge or concerns about genetic risk.

“Given that knowledge and concern about genetic risk influence surgical decisions and may affect systemic therapy trial eligibility, all young women with breast cancer should be counseled and offered genetic testing,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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