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HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer arising in patients with or without BRCA2 mutation: different biological phenotype and similar prognosis.

BACKGROUND: BRCA2 plays a key role in homologous recombination. However, information regarding its mutations in Chinese patients with breast cancer remains limited.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to assess the clinicopathological characteristics of BRCA2 mutation breast cancer and explore the mutation's effect on hormone receptor (HR)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer survival in China.

DESIGN: This hospital-based cohort study prospectively included 629 women with breast cancer diagnosed from 2008 to 2023 at Zhejiang Cancer Hospital in China.

METHODS: We compared the clinicopathological characteristics and metastatic patterns and analysed the invasive disease-free survival (iDFS), distant relapse-free survival (DRFS) and first-line progression-free survival (PFS1) of patients with HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer according to BRCA2 mutations.

RESULTS: Among the 629 patients, 78 had BRCA2 mutations (12.4%) and 551 did not (87.6%). The mean age at diagnosis was lower in the BRCA2 mutation breast cancer group than in the non-mutation breast cancer group (38.91 versus 41.94 years, p = 0.016). BRCA2 mutation breast cancers were more likely to be lymph node-positive than non-mutation breast cancers (73.0% versus 56.6%, p = 0.037). The pathological grade was higher in 47.1% of BRCA2 mutation breast cancers than in 29.6% of non-mutation breast cancers ( p = 0.014). The proportions of patients with BRCA2 mutations who developed contralateral breast cancer (19.2% versus 8.8%, p = 0.004), breast cancer in the family (53.8% versus 38.3%, p = 0.009) and ovarian cancer in the family (7.6% versus 2.4%, p = 0.022) were higher than those of patients without the mutation. The median follow-up time was 92.78 months. Multivariate analysis showed that BRCA2 mutation was not associated with poorer iDFS [hazard ratio = 0.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.64-1.27, p = 0.56] and poorer distant relapse-free survival (DRFS) (hazard ratio = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.61-1.93, p = 0.76). There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to metastatic patterns in the advanced disease setting. In the first-line metastatic breast cancer setting, PFS1 expression was broadly similar between the two groups irrespective of chemotherapy or endocrine therapy.

CONCLUSION: HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer with BRCA2 mutations differs from those without mutations in clinical behaviour and reflects more aggressive tumour behaviour. Our results indicate that BRCA2 mutations have no significant effect on the survival of Chinese women with HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer.

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