X-ray imaging increases the risk of breast cancer in those with BRCA 1/2 gene mutations. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Effect of chest X-rays on the risk of breast cancer among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers in the international BRCA1/2 carrier cohort study: a report from the EMBRACE, GENEPSO, GEO-HEBON, and IBCCS Collaborators' Group.
J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jul 20;24(21):3361-6. Epub 2006 Jun 26. PMID: 16801631
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Emi00-06, Paris, France.
PURPOSE: Women who carry germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at greatly increased risk of breast cancer (BC). Numerous studies have shown that moderate to high doses of ionizing radiation are a risk factor for BC. Because of the role of the BRCA proteins in DNA repair, we hypothesized that BRCA carriers might be more sensitive to ionizing radiation than women in the general population. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of 1,601 female BRCA1/2 carriers was performed. Risk of breast cancer from exposure to chest x-rays, as assessed by questionnaire data, was analyzed using a weighted Cox proportional hazards model. RESULTS: In this cohort, any reported exposure to chest x-rays was associated with an increased risk of BC (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.54; P = .007). This risk was increased in carrier women aged 40 years and younger (HR = 1.97; P<.001) and in women born after 1949 (HR = 2.56; P<.001), particularly those exposed only before the age of 20 years (HR = 4.64; P<.001). CONCLUSION: In our series of BRCA carriers, we detected a relatively large effect on BC risk with a level of radiation exposure that is at least an order of magnitude lower than in previously studied medical radiation-exposed cohorts. Although part of this increase may be attributable to recall bias, the observed patterns of risk in terms of age at exposure and attained age are consistent with those found in previous studies. If confirmed, the results have important implications for the use of x-ray imaging in young BRCA1/2 carriers.