Approximately a decade ago, germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 were identified as the most
common detectable causes of a hereditary predisposition to breast (and ovarian)
cancer.1,2 A recent meta-analysis
of 22 studies indicated that the average risk of breast cancer by 70 years
is 65% for women with BRCA1 mutations and 45% for BRCA2 mutations,3 although
the risk may be substantially higher in some families. Women with BRCA1 mutations in their fourth and fifth decade of life have on average
approximately a 30-fold higher risk of breast cancer than women without mutations,
and BRCA2 mutation carriers are at 10-fold to 16-fold
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