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The risk of cancer associated with specific mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 among Ashkenazi Jews.

March 7, 2018

Carriers of germ-line mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 from families at high risk for cancer have been estimated to have an 85 percent risk of breast cancer. Since the combined frequency of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations exceeds 2 percent among Ashkenazi Jews, we were able to estimate the risk of cancer in a large group of Jewish men and women from the Washington, D.C., area. 

One hundred twenty carriers of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation were identified. By the age of 70, the estimated risk of breast cancer among carriers was 56 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 40 to 73 percent); of ovarian cancer, 16 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 6 to 28 percent); and of prostate cancer, 16 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 4 to 30 percent). There were no significant differences in the risk of breast cancer between carriers of BRCA1 mutations and carriers of BRCA2 mutations, and the incidence of colon cancer among the relatives of carriers was not elevated.

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