Dr-Allison W. Kurian

Genetic Testing of Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Allison W. Kurian

Dr. Kurian

Allison W. Kurian, M.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Epidemiology and Population Health
Director, Women’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5405

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Genetic testing is increasingly relevant for the care of cancer patients. However, little was known about the prevalence of inherited mutations in cancer susceptibility genes among the most common group of women with breast cancer: those diagnosed after menopause and without a strong family history of cancer. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: We tested banked DNA samples from participants of the Women’s Health Initiative study, all of whom were enrolled after menopause. We found that approximately 3.6% of women who developed breast cancer after menopause carry inherited mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes, and approximately 2.2% of women diagnosed under age 65 carry mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

MedicalResearch.com:  What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These numbers are high enough that it is reasonable to consider genetic testing for these patients. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research should evaluate the magnitude of cancer risks, the response to specific cancer treatments and the long-term outcomes associated with inherited mutations in breast cancer risk genes among post-menopausal women

Disclosure: Myriad Genetics, who conducted the sequencing, was a funder of this study 


Kurian AW, Bernhisel R, Larson K, et al. Prevalence of Pathogenic Variants in Cancer Susceptibility Genes Among Women With Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. JAMA. 2020;323(10):995–997. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.0229




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Last Updated on March 12, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD