Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 7, 2020

Non-surgical prevention strategies in women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes

Christian F. Singer



To review non-surgical prevention strategies in women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes.


Women with a gBRCA1 or 2 mutations face a high cumulative breast and ovarian cancer risk. While bilateral mastectomy (PBM) and bilateral salpingo-oophrectomy (PBSO) profoundly reduce the respective cancer risks, they are also associated with considerable side effects. There is therefore an urgent need for alternative and non-surgical risk reduction options. Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors have both been evaluated in secondary prevention, but their benefit in primary prevention is currently unknown in BRCA mutation carriers. In addition, their use is compromised by their side effect profile which makes them less appealing for a use in chemoprevention.

Summary and outlook

Denosumab is a well-tolerated osteoprotective drug, which has been demonstrated to have a potential preventive effect particularly in BRCA1-deficient models in vitro. The prospectively randomized double-blind BRCA-P trial is currently investigating the preventative effect of denosumab in healthy BRCA1 germ line mutation carriers.

Corresponding author: Dr.Christian F. Singer, M.D., MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Conflict of interest: None declared.

  3. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  4. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2019-09-29
Accepted: 2020-04-08
Published Online: 2020-05-07

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