Pathology of hereditary breast cancer

Petra Van Der Groep, Elsken Van Der Wall, Paul J. Van Diest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Background Hereditary breast cancer runs in families where several members in different generations are affected. Most of these breast cancers are caused by mutations in the high penetrance genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 accounting for about 5% of all breast cancers. Other genes that include CHEK2, PTEN, TP53, ATM, STK11/LKB1, CDH1, NBS1, RAD50, BRIP1 and PALB2 have been described to be high ormoderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes, all contributing to the hereditary breast cancer spectrum. However, in still a part of familial hereditary breast cancers no relationship to any of these breast cancer susceptibility genes can be found. Research on new susceptibility genes is therefore ongoing. Design In this review we will describe the function of the today known high or moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes and the consequences of their mutated status. Furthermore, we will focus on the histology, the immunophenotype and genotype of breast cancers caused by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and the other high or moderate penetrance breast cancer susceptibility genes. Finally, an overview of the clinical implications of hereditary breast cancer patients will be provided. Conclusion This information leads to a better understanding of the morphological, immunohistochemical and molecular characteristics of different types of hereditary breast cancers. Further, these characteristics offer clues for diagnosis and new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalCellular Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA1
  • BRCA2
  • Genetics
  • Hereditary breast cancer
  • Pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathology of hereditary breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this