Date de publication: 2021

An important group of breast cancers is those associated with inherited susceptibility. In women, several predisposing mutations in genes involved in DNA repair have been discovered. Women with a germline pathogenic variant in BRCA1 have a lifetime cancer risk of 70%. As part of a larger prospective study on heavy metals, our aim was to investigate if blood arsenic levels are associated with breast cancer risk among women with inherited BRCA1 mutations. A total of 1084 participants with pathogenic variants in BRCA1 were enrolled in this study. Subjects were followed from 2011 to 2020 (mean follow-up time: 3.75 years). During that time, 90 cancers were diagnosed, including 67 breast and 10 ovarian cancers. The group was stratified into two categories (lower and higher blood As levels), divided at the median (<0.85 µg/L and ≥0.85 µg/L) As level among all unaffected participants. Cox proportional hazards models were used to model the association between As levels and cancer incidence. A high blood As level (≥0.85 µg/L) was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer (HR = 2.05; 95%CI: 1.18-3.56; p = 0.01) and of any cancer (HR = 1.73; 95%CI: 1.09-2.74; p = 0.02). These findings suggest a possible role of environmental arsenic in the development of cancers among women with germline pathogenic variants in BRCA1.

Keywords: BRCA1 carriers; blood arsenic; breast cancer; cancer risk; epidemiology; prospective cohort.

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 3;13(13):3345. doi: 10.3390/cancers13133345.