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Faulty breast cancer gene linked to deadly uterine tumors

Uterine adenocarcinoma
Uterine adenocarcinoma
Non-copyrighted image from a publication of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, a government agency.

It is now estimated that 1 in 400 American women of eastern European decent are at high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers due to faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Now a new study by Dr. Noah Kauff of Manhattan’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has found that those with defective BRCA1 genes may also be in greater peril of developing deadly uterine tumors even after having their ovaries removed as a preventative measure. As a result, he stated that women should consider having their uteruses removed as well once they are finished having children.

Kauff’s research examined 1,200 women diagnosed with BRCA gene mutations since 1995 at Sloan Kettering. Out of the 525 he and his team were able to track for numerous years after they had surgery to remove their ovaries but left their wombs intact, they found that 4 out of 296 women with BRCA1 mutations developed uterine tumors.

“One can happen. Two all of a sudden raises eyebrows and four is highly suspicious,” commented Kauff, who also noted that “None, however, were seen in women with BRCA2 mutations.”

“Women need to have that information, although I think it is too early to strongly recommend that patients undergo a hysterectomy until more research is done,” stated Dr. Karen Lu, a specialist in women’s cancers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, who added that she plans to conduct a similar study at her own hospital.

Note: It was also stated that most uterine cancers are considered to be “low risk forms usually cured by surgery alone. However, aggressive forms do account for 10% - 15 % of all cases of the disease and are “responsible for more than 50% of uterine cancer deaths.”