Triple negative disease breast cancer, which accounts for about 15 percent of all breast cancers, is aggressive, less responsive to standard treatment and associated with poorer patient prognosis. BRCA -- BReast CAncer -- gene mutations may make a person more susceptible to developing breast cancer.
Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston found patients with triple negative breast cancer who also have mutations in the BRCA gene appeared to have a lower risk of recurrence -- compared to those with the same disease without the BRCA mutation.
First author Dr. Ana Gonzalez-Angulo noted the incidence of BRCA mutations in the triple negative breast cancer population was higher than expected.
"Perhaps we need to lower our threshold for patients with triple negative breast cancer for genetic counseling and to assess for mutation status -- especially those under age 50 -- despite not having the significant family history as others," Gonzalez-Angulo said in a statement
Gonzalez-Angulo and colleagues looked at data for 77 women with triple negative disease -- 19.5 percent of whom were found to have BRCA mutations.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the Breast Cancer Symposium in December.