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Highly Accessed Review

Breast cancer risk-assessment models

D Gareth R Evans1* and Anthony Howell2

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Genetics, Academic Unit of Medical Genetics and Regional Genetics Service, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester M13 0JH, UK

2 CRUK Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital, University of Manchester, Manchester M20 4BX, UK

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Breast Cancer Research 2007, 9:213  doi:10.1186/bcr1750

Published: 12 September 2007

Abstract

There are two main questions when assessing a woman for interventions to reduce her risks of developing or dying from breast cancer, the answers of which will determine her access: What are her chances of carrying a mutation in a high-risk gene such as BRCA1 or BRCA2? What are her risks of developing breast cancer with or without such a mutation? These risks taken together with the risks and benefits of the intervention will then determine whether an intervention is appropriate. A number of models have been developed for assessing these risks with varying degrees of validation. With further improvements in our knowledge of how to integrate risk factors and to eventually integrate further genetic variants into these models, we are confident we will be able to discriminate with far greater accuracy which women are most likely to develop breast cancer.