Article Text

other Versions

Hereditary breast cancer: From molecular pathology to tailored therapies
  1. David S Tan (david.tan{at}
  1. Institute of Cancer Research, United Kingdom
    1. Caterina Marchio (caterina.marchio{at}
    1. The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, Institute of Cancer Research, United Kingdom
      1. Jorge S Reis Filho (jorgerf{at}
      1. The Institute of Cancer Research, United Kingdom


        Hereditary breast cancer accounts for up to 5-10% of all breast carcinomas. Recent studies have demonstrated that mutations in two high penetrance genes, namely BRCA1 and BRCA2, are responsible for about 16% of the familial risk of breast cancer. Even though subsequent studies have failed to find another high-penetrance breast cancer susceptibility gene, several genes that confer moderate to low risk of breast cancer development have been identified; moreover, hereditary breast cancer can be part of multiple cancer syndromes. In this review we will focus on the hereditary breast carcinomas caused by mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, Fanconi Anaemia (FANC) genes, CHK2 and ATM tumour suppressor genes. We describe the hallmark histological features of these carcinomas compared with non-hereditary breast cancers and show how an accurate histopathological diagnosis may help improve the identification of patients to be screened for mutations. Finally, novel therapeutic approaches to treat patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutations, including cross-linking agents and PARP inhibitors, are discussed.

        Statistics from

        Request Permissions

        If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.