Please note that this summary only contains information from the full scientific abstract: View ESMO Scientific Abstract

A real-world study of BRCA1/2 gene testing in adult women with HER2- advanced breast cancer in 5 European countries

Date of summary: September 2019

The full title of this abstract is: BRCA1/2 Testing in HER2- Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC): Results from the European Component of a Multi-Country Real World Study

This summary reports the results of only one study. The results of this study might be different from the results of other studies that the researchers look at.

More information can be found in the scientific abstract of this study, which you can access here:
View ESMO Scientific Abstract

What did this study look at?

  • A gene is a section of DNA that tells the cell how to make a specific substance, such as a protein. DNA is a molecule in a person’s cells that tells the cells what to do and how to develop.
    • Each gene has a unique name, which can be long. For this reason, genes are often referred to as a set of letters.
  • Women with faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (BRCA1/2) may be more likely to develop cancer in the breast or ovaries.
  • In Europe, recent changes to genetic-testing guidelines for breast cancer mean that more women can have testing for faulty BRCA1/2.
  • This study looked at adult women in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom (known as the EU5 countries) who had advanced breast cancer.
    • Advanced breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread within or beyond the breast to other parts of the body.
  • The women in this study had a type of advanced breast cancer that did not have high levels of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 for short). This type of cancer is known as HER2- breast cancer.
  • The researchers divided the women into 2 groups:
    • Women with hormone receptor positive/HER2-breast cancer (HR+/HER2- for short), where estrogen and/or progesterone receptors are present in the cancer.
    • Women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC for short), where the cancer has no receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2.
  • This summary describes the proportions of women with HER2- advanced breast cancer who had BRCA1/2 testing, and how these proportions differ depending on the type of breast cancer and the country in which the women lived.

Who took part in this study?

  • In total, researchers collected medical records for 4,876 women with advanced breast cancer from 2 years (2015 and 2017), which were provided by 742 doctors across the EU5 countries.
  • Researchers then combined the information from these women’s medical records. They divided information into groups, based on:
    • the type of breast cancer a woman had (HR+/HER2- breast cancer or TNBC), and
    • whether or not a woman had a known family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

What were the results of the study?

  • The average age of the women in this study was 64 years.
  • Three-quarters of the women had HR+/HER2- breast cancer, almost one-quarter had TNBC, and for the remaining women (2%), researchers did not know whether their breast cancer was HR+ or HR-.
  • Across the EU5 countries, an average of 21% of women in this study had BRCA1/2 testing.
  • Overall, the women who had BRCA1/2 testing were younger, and a higher proportion of them had TNBC compared with the women who were not tested.
  • Among women with HR+/HER2- breast cancer or TNBC, a higher proportion of these women with a known family history of breast or ovarian cancer had BRCA1/2 testing, compared with women who had no known family history of these cancers.
  • Among women with advanced HR+/HER2- breast cancer, the rate of BRCA1/2 testing was lower than for women who had advanced TNBC.

More results from this study can be found here:
View ESMO Scientific Abstract

What were the main conclusions reported by the researchers?

  • Overall, a low proportion of women with advanced breast cancer had BRCA1/2 testing, especially among women who had HR+/HER2- breast cancer.
  • Adult women who had HR+/HER2- breast cancer or TNBC were more likely to have BRCA1/2 testing if they also had a known family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
  • According to European genetic-testing guidelines for breast cancer, more women should have BRCA1/2 testing. This offers an opportunity to increase BRCA1/2 testing in the EU5 countries.

Who sponsored this study?

Pfizer Inc.
235 East 42nd Street NY, NY 10017
Phone (United States): +1 212-733-2323

Pfizer would like to thank all of the women who took part in this study.

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