Natural history and age at onset of hereditary breast cancer

Henry T. Lynch, P. Watson, T. A. Conway, J. F. Lynch

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19 Scopus citations


Hereditary breast cancer (HBC) is noteworthy for certain unique facets of its natural history and heterogeneity. Interfamily heterogeneity in age at initial breast cancer diagnosis was investigated in 217 family members with HBC. The mean age at diagnosis was 44.9 years (standard deviation ± 12.5 years). A one-way analysis of variance in ages at diagnosis, using the family as a random effect factor, indicated that between-family differences were significant (P <0.002) and accounted for approximately 18% of the variance in ages at diagnosis. A subset of families with HBC was characterized by an extraordinarily early onset of breast cancer. A knowledge of the natural history of HBC with particular attention to age at onset allows for the development of more accurately targeted surveillance, genetic counselling, and management strategies.


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Lynch, H. T., Watson, P., Conway, T. A., & Lynch, J. F. (1992). Natural history and age at onset of hereditary breast cancer. Cancer, 69(6), 1404-1407.