Effect of mammography on breast cancer risk in women with mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2
Women who carry mutations in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at risk for early-onset breast cancer and are recommended to begin screening mammography at age 25 to 30 years. Results of in vitro and animal studies suggest that BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers are hypersensitive to ionizing radiation and possibly to radiation-induced breast cancer. This study was undertaken to investigate the association of low-dose radiation exposure from mammograms with breast cancer status in BRCA mutation carriers. One hundred sixty-two female mutation carriers provided information at time of genetic testing about exposure to mammograms before enrollment. Using unconditional logistic regression, breast cancer status was not associated with number of mammograms received before diagnosis (affected women) or ascertainment [unaffected women; adjusted odds ratio (OR), 0.94; P = not significant]. A larger group of 213 women provided information about lifetime number of mammograms. There was no association between mammogram exposure and risk in the group as a whole (adjusted OR, 1.04; P = not significant), although there was a modest association in BRCA1 carriers (adjusted OR, 1.08; P = 0.03). These findings indicate that screening mammography is unlikely to be associated with a large increase in breast cancer risk in this population.