Mutations in the genes for BRCA1 and BRCA2 that are associated with breast cancer frequently have been at the center of controversies over genetic testing, in part because knowing that a mutation is present doesn't lead to clear guidelines as to what to do about it.

Research reported in last week's issue of The Lancet may not help much to clarify the importance of BRCA. Scientists at the Family Cancer Clinic (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) compared 49 breast cancer patients from families with known mutations in their BRCA1 genes with patients with sporadic