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Definition

There are two BRCA genes (BRCA1 & BRCA2) which are tumour suppressor genes involved in DNA repair. Variants in the BRCA genes can lead to cancer.

Use in clinical context

Variants in the BRCA genes can lead to cancer. Most commonly these cancers are breast cancer in both women and men, and ovarian cancer in women. Variants in these genes can also play a role in other cancers, including fallopian tube cancer, peritoneal cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. While variants in the BRCA genes increase the risk of cancer, not everyone with such variants develops cancer, and not all cases of BRCA associated cancers are the result of variants in these genes. Testing for variants is typically done when there is a family history of BRCA associated cancers or when an individual develops disease at a young age.

Last updated on 6th June, 2019