Study Finds Breast Cancer Gene Can Increase Risk For Uterine Cancer

According to a new study, women who have the gene mutation BRCA1 have a higher chance of being diagnosed with a fatal type of uterine cancer.

BRCA1 has been known for some time to tremendously raise the risk of both ovarian and breast cancers. Due to the tremendously high risk, women often consider removing both breasts and their ovaries to stop the cancers from forming.


Researchers said the study is the first to note that there is s definite link between the gene mutation and a significant rise in odds to the development of aggressive uterine cancer.

Study authors reviewed information from roughly 1,100 U.S. and UK women who had the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. They followed the women’s health for about five years. The U.S. National Cancer Institute said the BRCA2 gene also increased their chance of breast and ovarian cancers.

While the research period was going on, eight women in the study had been identified to have uterine cancer – a rate that was a bit higher but not dramatically unlike women in the general population.


What they did find though is that five of the cancers were the extremely aggressive kind known as serous endometrial cancer. Four of those five cancers occurred in women who had the BRCA1 mutation.

Dr. Noah Kauff is the study’s author and head of Duke Cancer Institute’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program. He said researchers were surprised by this information.  He said the event shouldn’t have taken place in the more than 600 women that have the BRCA1 mutation. Kauff said, even if the women were followed for 25 years, there should have only been one case of serious cancer.


The study’s finding will help doctors and women that have the BRCA1 mutation to come up with treatment options that are best.

Kauff said the findings are significantly important to women that have this BRCA1 mutation, as they may want to remove their uterus as well as their ovaries and fallopian tubes.


Researchers said it’s not known what the benefit is for removing the uterus in women who’ve already undergone removal of their breasts, fallopian tubes and ovaries.  Kauff said additional studies must be done to determine if a second surgery justifies the cost and possible complications.

The study can be found in the June 30 edition of the JAMA Oncology journal.