Background: The germline CHEK2*1100delC variant has been associated with breast cancer in multiple case families where involvement of BRCA1 and BRCA2 has been excluded.
Methods: We have investigated the tumour characteristics and prognosis of carriers of this germline variant by means of a prospective cohort study in an unselected cohort of 1084 consecutive patients with primary breast cancer. Data were collected for 34 patients with a germline CHEK2*1100delC mutation and for 102 patients without this mutation, stratified by age and date of diagnosis of the first primary breast cancer (within 1 year).
Results: Carriers developed steroid receptor positive tumours (oestrogen receptor (ER): 91%; progesterone receptor (PR): 81%) more frequently than non-carriers (ER: 69%; PR: 53%; p = 0.04). Mutation carriers more frequently had a female first or second degree relative with breast cancer (p = 0.03), or had any first or second degree relative with breast or ovarian cancer (p = 0.04). Patients with the CHEK2 variant had a more unfavourable prognosis regarding the occurrence of contralateral breast cancer (relative risk (RR) = 5.74; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.67 to 19.65), distant metastasis-free survival (RR = 2.81; 95% CI 1.20 to 6.58), and disease-free survival (RR = 3.86; 95% CI 1.91 to 7.78). As yet, no difference with respect to overall survival has been found at a median follow up of 3.8 years.
Conclusion: We conclude that carrying the CHEK2*1100delC mutation is an adverse prognostic indicator for breast cancer. If independently confirmed by others, intensive surveillance, and possibly preventive measures, should be considered for newly diagnosed breast cancer cases carrying the CHEK2*1100delC variant.
- ER, oestrogen receptor
- PR, progesterone receptor
- RR, relative risk
- breast cancer
- CHEK2 mutation
- tumour characteristics
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↵* Current address: Department of Epidemiology, Groningen University, Groningen, The Netherlands.
↵† The last two authors contributed equally, on behalf of the Leiden and Rotterdam groups, respectively.
This study was supported by the Dutch Cancer Society (grant RUL 1997–1505).
Conflict of interest: none declared.