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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

BRCA-mutation-associated fallopian tube carcinoma: a distinct clinical phenotype?

OBJECTIVE: To compare clinical and histologic features between fallopian tube cancers in women with germline BRCA mutations and sporadic cases. METHODS: Twenty-eight patients with fallopian tube cancer had BRCA mutation testing using multiplex polymerase chain reaction and protein truncation testing. Histologic slides were reviewed by 2 pathologists, and immunohistochemical staining for p53, ki67, estrogen receptor, and progesterone receptor was performed on carcinomas and dysplastic and benign tubal epithelia. RESULTS: Twelve of 28 (43%) women had BRCA mutations: 11 BRCA1, 1 BRCA2. Excluding 4 cases found at prophylactic surgery, the median age of diagnosis of BRCA mutation carriers was 57 years compared with 65 years among sporadic cases (P = .09). Patients with BRCA-associated fallopian tube cancer had a median survival time of 68 months compared with 37 months when compared with sporadic cases (P = .14). Both groups had predominantly advanced stage, high grade, serous fallopian tube cancers. No patient had exclusively proximal disease. Occult fallopian tube cancer diagnosed at prophylactic surgery in BRCA mutation carriers was exclusively distal. "Skip" areas of high-grade dysplasia were only seen in 2 patients, both of whom were BRCA mutation carriers. There were no differences in the immunohistochemical staining for p53, ki67, estrogen receptor or progesterone receptor in carcinomas and dysplastic or benign epithelia of patients with or without BRCA mutations. Overexpression of p53 was commonly seen in fallopian tube cancers and dysplastic epithelium, but rarely noted in benign epithelium. CONCLUSION: Fallopian tube cancer is part of the BRCA mutation phenotype and seems to share many clinical features with sporadic fallopian tube cancers, including no exclusively proximal disease. The presentation of BRCA-associated fallopian tube cancers may, however, occur at a younger age and have an improved survival.[1]


  1. BRCA-mutation-associated fallopian tube carcinoma: a distinct clinical phenotype? Cass, I., Holschneider, C., Datta, N., Barbuto, D., Walts, A.E., Karlan, B.Y. Obstetrics and gynecology. (2005) [Pubmed]
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