An illustration of breast cancer
crystal structure of a rad51-brca2 brc repeat complex
Breast cancer showing an inverted nipple, lump, and skin dimpling
Recombinational repair of DNA double-strand damage - some key steps. ATM (ATM) is a protein kinase that is recruited and activated by DNA double-strand breaks. DNA double-strand damages also activate the Fanconi anemia core complex (FANCA/B/C/E/F/G/L/M).  The FA core complex monoubiquitinates the downstream targets FANCD2 and FANCI.   ATM activates (phosphorylates) CHEK2 and FANCD2  CHEK2 phosphorylates BRCA1.   Ubiquinated FANCD2 complexes with BRCA1 and RAD51.  The PALB2 protein acts as a hub, bringing together BRCA1, BRCA2 and RAD51 at the site of a DNA double-strand break, and also binds to RAD51C, a member of the RAD51 paralog complex RAD51B-RAD51C-RAD51D-XRCC2 (BCDX2).  The BCDX2 complex is responsible for RAD51 recruitment or stabilization at damage sites.  RAD51 plays a major role in homologous recombinational repair of DNA during double strand break repair. In this process, an ATP dependent DNA strand exchange takes place in which a single strand invades base-paired strands of homologous DNA molecules.  RAD51 is involved in the search for homology and strand pairing stages of the process.
Early signs of possible breast cancer
structure of a brca2-dss1 complex
Tumor in the breast visualized by Breast-Computertomography (Breast-CT)
Absolute risk of cancers in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
All types of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, or liquor, cause breast cancer.
Ducts and lobules, the main locations of breast cancers
Overview of signal transduction pathways involved in programmed cell death. Mutations leading to loss of this ability can lead to cancer formation.
Histopathologic types of breast cancer, with relative incidences and prognoses
A mobile breast cancer screening unit in New Zealand
Chest after right breast mastectomy
Internal radiotherapy for breast cancer
Breasts after double mastectomy followed by nipple-sparing reconstruction with implants
An extreme example of an advanced recurrent breast cancer with an ulcerating axillary mass
Breast cancer surgery in 18th century
Radical mastectomy, Halsted's surgical papers
The pink ribbon is a symbol to show support for breast cancer awareness.
MRI showing breast cancer
Excised human breast tissue, showing an irregular, dense, white stellate area of cancer 2cm in diameter, within yellow fatty tissue
High-grade invasive ductal carcinoma, with minimal tubule formation, marked pleomorphism, and prominent mitoses, 40x field
Micrograph showing a lymph node invaded by ductal breast carcinoma, with an extension of the tumor beyond the lymph node
Neuropilin-2 expression in normal breast and breast carcinoma tissue
F-18 FDG PET/CT: A breast cancer metastasis to the right scapula
Needle breast biopsy
Elastography shows stiff cancer tissue on ultrasound imaging.
Ultrasound image shows irregularly shaped mass of breast cancer.
Infiltrating (invasive) breast carcinoma
Mammograms showing a normal breast (left) and a breast with cancer (right)
Stage T1 breast cancer
Stage T2 breast cancer
Stage T3 breast cancer
Metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer
Stage 1A breast cancer
Stage 1B breast cancer
Stage 2A breast cancer
Stage 2A breast cancer
Stage 2B breast cancer
Stage 2B breast cancer
Stage 2B breast cancer
Stage 3A breast cancer
Stage 3A breast cancer
Stage 3A breast cancer
Stage 3B breast cancer
Stage 3B breast cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer

About 5–10% of cases are the result of a genetic predisposition inherited from a person's parents, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 among others.

- Breast cancer

If BRCA1 or BRCA2 itself is damaged by a BRCA mutation, damaged DNA is not repaired properly, and this increases the risk for breast cancer.

- BRCA2
An illustration of breast cancer

4 related topics

Alpha

Domain map of BRCA1; RING, serine containing domain (SCD), and BRCT domains are indicated. Horizontal black lines indicate protein-binding domains for the listed partners. Red circles mark phosphorylation sites.

BRCA1

Protein that in humans is encoded by the BRCA1 gene.

Protein that in humans is encoded by the BRCA1 gene.

Domain map of BRCA1; RING, serine containing domain (SCD), and BRCT domains are indicated. Horizontal black lines indicate protein-binding domains for the listed partners. Red circles mark phosphorylation sites.
Absolute risk of cancers in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are unrelated proteins, but both are normally expressed in the cells of breast and other tissue, where they help repair damaged DNA, or destroy cells if DNA cannot be repaired.

If BRCA1 or BRCA2 itself is damaged by a BRCA mutation, damaged DNA is not repaired properly, and this increases the risk for breast cancer.

Ovarian and breast cancer patients in a pedigree chart of a family

Hereditary breast–ovarian cancer syndrome

Ovarian and breast cancer patients in a pedigree chart of a family
Absolute risk of cancers in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Hereditary breast–ovarian cancer syndromes (HBOC) are cancer syndromes that produce higher than normal levels of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and additional cancers in genetically related families (either one individual had both, or several individuals in the pedigree had one or the other disease).

BRCA mutations: Harmful mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can produce very high rates of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as increased rates of other cancers. Mutations in BRCA1 are associated with a 39-46% risk of ovarian cancer and mutations in BRCA2 are associated with a 10-27% risk of ovarian cancer.

Absolute risk of cancers in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

BRCA mutation

Absolute risk of cancers in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
BRCA mutations are inherited in a genetically dominant fashion, from either parent.
The BRCA genes are tumour suppressor genes pictured here on their respective chromosomes. BRCA 1 has the cytogenetic location 17q21 or the q arm of Chromosome 17 at position 21. BRCA 2 has the cytogenetic location 13q12.3 or the q arm of Chromosome 13 at position 12.3. Both genes produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA, keeping the genetic material of the cell stable. A damaged BRCA gene in either location can lead to increased risk of cancer, particularly breast or ovarian in women.

A BRCA mutation is a mutation in either of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are tumour suppressor genes.

Only 5–10% of breast cancer cases in women are attributed to BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations (with BRCA1 mutations being slightly more common than BRCA2 mutations), but the impact on women with the gene mutation is more profound.

Micrograph of a mucinous ovarian carcinoma stained by H&E.

Ovarian cancer

Cancer that forms in or on an ovary.

Cancer that forms in or on an ovary.

Micrograph of a mucinous ovarian carcinoma stained by H&E.
Site of ovarian cancer
Women with ovarian or breast cancer in a pedigree chart of a family
A very large ovarian cancer as seen on CT
Micrograph of serous carcinoma, a type of ovarian cancer, diagnosed in peritoneal fluid
Ovarian cancers in women aged 20+, with area representing relative incidence and color representing five-year relative survival rate
A pathological specimen of ovarian carcinoma
Hobnail cells seen in a clear cell carcinoma sample
Ovarian adenocarcinoma deposit in the mesentery of the small bowel
Relative five-year survival of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer by stage
Ovarian tumors (including non-cancerous tumors) by incidence and risk of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer cases diagnosed by age group in the US
Stage 1 ovarian cancer
Stage 2 ovarian cancer
Stage 3 ovarian cancer
Stage 4 ovarian cancer

About 10% of cases are related to inherited genetic risk; women with mutations in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 have about a 50% chance of developing the disease.

Because these tumors produce estrogen, they can cause or occur at the same time as endometrial cancer or breast cancer.