BRCA2

Gene Summary

Gene:BRCA2; breast cancer 2, early onset
Aliases: FAD, FACD, FAD1, GLM3, BRCC2, FANCD, PNCA2, FANCD1, XRCC11, BROVCA2
Location:13q12.3
Summary:Inherited mutations in BRCA1 and this gene, BRCA2, confer increased lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved in maintenance of genome stability, specifically the homologous recombination pathway for double-strand DNA repair. The BRCA2 protein contains several copies of a 70 aa motif called the BRC motif, and these motifs mediate binding to the RAD51 recombinase which functions in DNA repair. BRCA2 is considered a tumor suppressor gene, as tumors with BRCA2 mutations generally exhibit loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the wild-type allele. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:breast cancer type 2 susceptibility protein
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 March, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

A tumor suppressor gene located on human chromosome 13 at locus 13q12.3. Mutations in this gene predispose humans to breast and ovarian cancer. It encodes a large, nuclear protein that is an essential component of DNA repair pathways, suppressing the formation of gross chromosomal rearrangements. (from Genes Dev 2000;14(11):1400-6) [Source: MeSH, 2014]

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 March 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 17 March, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (15)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Fanconi Anemia - Complementation Group D1

Latest Publications

Mateos-Gomez PA, Gong F, Nair N, et al.
Mammalian polymerase θ promotes alternative NHEJ and suppresses recombination.
Nature. 2015; 518(7538):254-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The alternative non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) machinery facilitates several genomic rearrangements, some of which can lead to cellular transformation. This error-prone repair pathway is triggered upon telomere de-protection to promote the formation of deleterious chromosome end-to-end fusions. Using next-generation sequencing technology, here we show that repair by alternative NHEJ yields non-TTAGGG nucleotide insertions at fusion breakpoints of dysfunctional telomeres. Investigating the enzymatic activity responsible for the random insertions enabled us to identify polymerase theta (Polθ; encoded by Polq in mice) as a crucial alternative NHEJ factor in mammalian cells. Polq inhibition suppresses alternative NHEJ at dysfunctional telomeres, and hinders chromosomal translocations at non-telomeric loci. In addition, we found that loss of Polq in mice results in increased rates of homology-directed repair, evident by recombination of dysfunctional telomeres and accumulation of RAD51 at double-stranded breaks. Lastly, we show that depletion of Polθ has a synergistic effect on cell survival in the absence of BRCA genes, suggesting that the inhibition of this mutagenic polymerase represents a valid therapeutic avenue for tumours carrying mutations in homology-directed repair genes.

Reuter M, Zelensky A, Smal I, et al.
BRCA2 diffuses as oligomeric clusters with RAD51 and changes mobility after DNA damage in live cells.
J Cell Biol. 2014; 207(5):599-613 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/06/2015 Related Publications
Genome maintenance by homologous recombination depends on coordinating many proteins in time and space to assemble at DNA break sites. To understand this process, we followed the mobility of BRCA2, a critical recombination mediator, in live cells at the single-molecule level using both single-particle tracking and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. BRCA2-GFP and -YFP were compared to distinguish diffusion from fluorophore behavior. Diffusive behavior of fluorescent RAD51 and RAD54 was determined for comparison. All fluorescent proteins were expressed from endogenous loci. We found that nuclear BRCA2 existed in oligomeric clusters, and exhibited heterogeneous mobility. DNA damage increased BRCA2 transient binding, presumably including binding to damaged sites. Despite its very different size, RAD51 displayed mobility similar to BRCA2, which indicates physical interaction between these proteins both before and after induction of DNA damage. We propose that BRCA2-mediated sequestration of nuclear RAD51 serves to prevent inappropriate DNA interactions and that all RAD51 is delivered to DNA damage sites in association with BRCA2.

Economopoulou P, Dimitriadis G, Psyrri A
Beyond BRCA: new hereditary breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2015; 41(1):1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Approximately 5-10% of breast cancer cases might be inheritable, up to 30% of which are due to BRCA1/2 mutations. During the past few years and thanks to technology evolution, we have been witnesses of an intensive search of additional genes with similar characteristics, under the premise that successful gene discovery will provide substantial opportunities for primary and secondary prevention of breast cancer. Consequently, new genes have emerged as breast cancer susceptibility genes, including rare germline mutations in high penetrant genes, such as TP53 and PTEN, and more frequent mutations in moderate penetrant genes, such as CHEK2, ATM and PALB2. This review will summarize current data on new findings in breast cancer susceptibility genes.

Lee H
Cycling with BRCA2 from DNA repair to mitosis.
Exp Cell Res. 2014; 329(1):78-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic integrity in proliferating cells is guaranteed by the harmony of DNA replication, appropriate DNA repair, and segregation of the duplicated genome. Breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 is a unique tumor suppressor that is involved in all three processes. Hence, it is critical in genome maintenance. The functions of BRCA2 in DNA repair and homology-directed recombination (HDR) have been reviewed numerous times. Here, I will briefly go through the functions of BRCA2 in HDR and focus on the emerging roles of BRCA2 in telomere homeostasis and mitosis, then discuss how BRCA2 exerts distinct functions in a cell-cycle specific manner in the maintenance of genomic integrity.

Erturk E, Cecener G, Tezcan G, et al.
BRCA mutations cause reduction in miR-200c expression in triple negative breast cancer.
Gene. 2015; 556(2):163-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive and poorly understood subclass of breast cancer (BC). Over the recent years, miRNA expression studies have been providing certain detailed overview that aberrant expression of miRNAs is associated with TNBC. Although TNBC tumors are strongly connected with loss of function of BRCA genes, there is no knowledge about the effect of BRCA mutation status on miRNA expressions in TNBC cases. The aims of this study were to evaluate the expression profile of miRNAs that plays role in TNBC progression and the role of BRCA mutations in their regulation. The expression level of BC associated 13 miRNAs was analyzed in 7 BRCA mutations positive, 6 BRCA mutations negative TNBC cases and 20 non-tumoral tissues using RT-PCR. According to RT2 Profiler PCR Array Data Analysis, let-7a expression was 4.67 fold reduced in TNBCs as compared to normal tissues (P=0.031). In addition, miR-200c expression was 5.75 fold reduced in BRCA mutation positive TNBC tumors (P=0.005). Analysis revealed a negative correlation between miR-200c and VEGFA expressions (r=-468). Thus, miR-200c may be involved in invasion and metastasis in TNBC cases with BRCA mutation. In this study we provide the knowledge on the first report of association between microRNA-200c and BRCA mutations in TNBC. Further studies and evaluations are required, but this miRNA may provide novel therapeutic molecular targets for TNBC treatment and new directions for the development of anticancer drugs.

Manchanda R, Legood R, Burnell M, et al.
Cost-effectiveness of population screening for BRCA mutations in Ashkenazi jewish women compared with family history-based testing.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(1):380 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/06/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Population-based testing for BRCA1/2 mutations detects the high proportion of carriers not identified by cancer family history (FH)-based testing. We compared the cost-effectiveness of population-based BRCA testing with the standard FH-based approach in Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) women.
METHODS: A decision-analytic model was developed to compare lifetime costs and effects amongst AJ women in the UK of BRCA founder-mutation testing amongst: 1) all women in the population age 30 years or older and 2) just those with a strong FH (≥10% mutation risk). The model assumes that BRCA carriers are offered risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy and annual MRI/mammography screening or risk-reducing mastectomy. Model probabilities utilize the Genetic Cancer Prediction through Population Screening trial/published literature to estimate total costs, effects in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), cancer incidence, incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), and population impact. Costs are reported at 2010 prices. Costs/outcomes were discounted at 3.5%. We used deterministic/probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) to evaluate model uncertainty.
RESULTS: Compared with FH-based testing, population-screening saved 0.090 more life-years and 0.101 more QALYs resulting in 33 days' gain in life expectancy. Population screening was found to be cost saving with a baseline-discounted ICER of -£2079/QALY. Population-based screening lowered ovarian and breast cancer incidence by 0.34% and 0.62%. Assuming 71% testing uptake, this leads to 276 fewer ovarian and 508 fewer breast cancer cases. Overall, reduction in treatment costs led to a discounted cost savings of £3.7 million. Deterministic sensitivity analysis and 94% of simulations on PSA (threshold £20000) indicated that population screening is cost-effective, compared with current NHS policy.
CONCLUSION: Population-based screening for BRCA mutations is highly cost-effective compared with an FH-based approach in AJ women age 30 years and older.

Manchanda R, Loggenberg K, Sanderson S, et al.
Population testing for cancer predisposing BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in the Ashkenazi-Jewish community: a randomized controlled trial.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(1):379 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/06/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Technological advances raise the possibility of systematic population-based genetic testing for cancer-predisposing mutations, but it is uncertain whether benefits outweigh disadvantages. We directly compared the psychological/quality-of-life consequences of such an approach to family history (FH)-based testing.
METHODS: In a randomized controlled trial of BRCA1/2 gene-mutation testing in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, we compared testing all participants in the population screening (PS) arm with testing those fulfilling standard FH-based clinical criteria (FH arm). Following a targeted community campaign, AJ participants older than 18 years were recruited by self-referral after pretest genetic counseling. The effects of BRCA1/2 genetic testing on acceptability, psychological impact, and quality-of-life measures were assessed by random effects regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: One thousand, one hundred sixty-eight AJ individuals were counseled, 1042 consented, 1034 were randomly assigned (691 women, 343 men), and 1017 were eligible for analysis. Mean age was 54.3 (SD = 14.66) years. Thirteen BRCA1/2 carriers were identified in the PS arm, nine in the FH arm. Five more carriers were detected among FH-negative FH-arm participants following study completion. There were no statistically significant differences between the FH and PS arms at seven days or three months on measures of anxiety, depression, health anxiety, distress, uncertainty, and quality-of-life. Contrast tests indicated that overall anxiety (P = .0001) and uncertainty (P = .005) associated with genetic testing decreased; positive experience scores increased (P = .0001); quality-of-life and health anxiety did not change with time. Overall, 56% of carriers did not fulfill clinical criteria for genetic testing, and the BRCA1/2 prevalence was 2.45%.
CONCLUSION: Compared with FH-based testing, population-based genetic testing in Ashkenazi Jews doesn't adversely affect short-term psychological/quality-of-life outcomes and may detect 56% additional BRCA carriers.

Kaufman B, Shapira-Frommer R, Schmutzler RK, et al.
Olaparib monotherapy in patients with advanced cancer and a germline BRCA1/2 mutation.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(3):244-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Olaparib is an oral poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor with activity in germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) -associated breast and ovarian cancers. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of olaparib in a spectrum of BRCA1/2-associated cancers.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This multicenter phase II study enrolled individuals with a germline BRCA1/2 mutation and recurrent cancer. Eligibility included ovarian cancer resistant to prior platinum; breast cancer with ≥ three chemotherapy regimens for metastatic disease; pancreatic cancer with prior gemcitabine treatment; or prostate cancer with progression on hormonal and one systemic therapy. Olaparib was administered at 400 mg twice per day. The primary efficacy end point was tumor response rate.
RESULTS: A total of 298 patients received treatment and were evaluable. The tumor response rate was 26.2% (78 of 298; 95% CI, 21.3 to 31.6) overall and 31.1% (60 of 193; 95% CI, 24.6 to 38.1), 12.9% (eight of 62; 95% CI, 5.7 to 23.9), 21.7% (five of 23; 95% CI, 7.5 to 43.7), and 50.0% (four of eight; 95% CI, 15.7 to 84.3) in ovarian, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers, respectively. Stable disease ≥ 8 weeks was observed in 42% of patients (95% CI, 36.0 to 47.4), including 40% (95% CI, 33.4 to 47.7), 47% (95% CI, 34.0 to 59.9), 35% (95% CI, 16.4 to 57.3), and 25% (95% CI, 3.2 to 65.1) of those with ovarian, breast, pancreatic, or prostate cancer, respectively. The most common adverse events (AEs) were fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Grade ≥ 3 AEs were reported for 54% of patients; anemia was the most common (17%).
CONCLUSION: Responses to olaparib were observed across different tumor types associated with germline BRCA1/2 mutations. Olaparib warrants further investigation in confirmatory studies.

Shahid T, Soroka J, Kong EH, et al.
Structure and mechanism of action of the BRCA2 breast cancer tumor suppressor.
Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2014; 21(11):962-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2015 Related Publications
Mutations in BRCA2 increase susceptibility to breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. The product of human BRCA2, BRCA2 protein, has a key role in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks and interstrand cross-links by RAD51-mediated homologous recombination. Here, we present a biochemical and structural characterization of full-length (3,418 amino acid) BRCA2, alone and in complex with RAD51. We show that BRCA2 facilitates nucleation of RAD51 filaments at multiple sites on single-stranded DNA. Three-dimensional EM reconstructions revealed that BRCA2 exists as a dimer and that two oppositely oriented sets of RAD51 molecules bind the dimer. Single-stranded DNA binds along the long axis of BRCA2, such that only one set of RAD51 monomers can form a productive complex with DNA and establish filament formation. Our data define the molecular mechanism by which this tumor suppressor facilitates RAD51-mediated homologous-recombinational repair.

Wang ET, Pisarska MD, Bresee C, et al.
BRCA1 germline mutations may be associated with reduced ovarian reserve.
Fertil Steril. 2014; 102(6):1723-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether BRCA carriers have a decreased ovarian reserve compared with women without BRCA mutations, because BRCA mutations may lead to accelerated oocyte apoptosis due to accumulation of damaged DNA.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: Academic tertiary care center.
PATIENT(S): A total of 143 women, aged 18-45 years, who underwent clinical genetic testing for BRCA deleterious mutations because of a family history of cancer, were included. The cohort was classified into three groups: BRCA1 carriers, BRCA2 carriers, and women without BRCA mutations (controls). None had a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer.
INTERVENTION(S): None.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The main outcome was serum antimüllerian hormone (AMH) level. Linear and logistic regression models adjusting for age and body mass index (BMI) were performed to determine the association between BRCA mutations and AMH.
RESULT(S): BRCA1 mutation carriers had a significant decrease in AMH levels compared with controls after adjusting for age and BMI (0.53 ng/mL [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.33-0.77 ng/mL] vs. 1.05 ng/mL [95% CI 0.76-1.40 ng/mL]). Logistic regression confirmed that BRCA1 carriers had a fourfold greater odds of having AMH <1 ng/mL compared with controls (odds ratio 4.22, 95% CI 1.48-12.0). There was no difference in AMH levels between BRCA2 carriers and controls.
CONCLUSION(S): BRCA1 carriers have lower age- and BMI-adjusted serum AMH levels compared with women without BRCA mutations. Our results contribute to the current body of literature regarding BRCA carriers and their reproductive outcomes. Larger prospective studies with clinical outcomes such as infertility and age at menopause in this population are needed to further substantiate our findings.

Latest Publications: BRCA2 (cancer-related)

Cornejo-Moreno BA, Uribe-Escamilla D, Salamanca-Gómez F
Breast cancer genes: looking for BRACA's lost brother.
Isr Med Assoc J. 2014; 16(12):787-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer, specifically mammary carcinoma, is the most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide, with a lifetime risk of one in nine, and its prevalence is increasing. It represents around 30% of all cancer in females and approximately 40,000 deaths in the United States per year. Important advances have been made in detection and treatment, but a significant number of breast cancers are still detected late. This summary of its epidemiology and history, the molecular aspects of detection and the main implicated genes emphasizes the etiology and heterogeneity of the disease. It is still not clear whether the remaining cases of breast cancer negative to BRCA are due to mutations in another high penetrance gene or to unknown factors yet to be discovered.

Economopoulou P, Dimitriadis G, Psyrri A
Beyond BRCA: new hereditary breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2015; 41(1):1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Approximately 5-10% of breast cancer cases might be inheritable, up to 30% of which are due to BRCA1/2 mutations. During the past few years and thanks to technology evolution, we have been witnesses of an intensive search of additional genes with similar characteristics, under the premise that successful gene discovery will provide substantial opportunities for primary and secondary prevention of breast cancer. Consequently, new genes have emerged as breast cancer susceptibility genes, including rare germline mutations in high penetrant genes, such as TP53 and PTEN, and more frequent mutations in moderate penetrant genes, such as CHEK2, ATM and PALB2. This review will summarize current data on new findings in breast cancer susceptibility genes.

Erturk E, Cecener G, Tezcan G, et al.
BRCA mutations cause reduction in miR-200c expression in triple negative breast cancer.
Gene. 2015; 556(2):163-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive and poorly understood subclass of breast cancer (BC). Over the recent years, miRNA expression studies have been providing certain detailed overview that aberrant expression of miRNAs is associated with TNBC. Although TNBC tumors are strongly connected with loss of function of BRCA genes, there is no knowledge about the effect of BRCA mutation status on miRNA expressions in TNBC cases. The aims of this study were to evaluate the expression profile of miRNAs that plays role in TNBC progression and the role of BRCA mutations in their regulation. The expression level of BC associated 13 miRNAs was analyzed in 7 BRCA mutations positive, 6 BRCA mutations negative TNBC cases and 20 non-tumoral tissues using RT-PCR. According to RT2 Profiler PCR Array Data Analysis, let-7a expression was 4.67 fold reduced in TNBCs as compared to normal tissues (P=0.031). In addition, miR-200c expression was 5.75 fold reduced in BRCA mutation positive TNBC tumors (P=0.005). Analysis revealed a negative correlation between miR-200c and VEGFA expressions (r=-468). Thus, miR-200c may be involved in invasion and metastasis in TNBC cases with BRCA mutation. In this study we provide the knowledge on the first report of association between microRNA-200c and BRCA mutations in TNBC. Further studies and evaluations are required, but this miRNA may provide novel therapeutic molecular targets for TNBC treatment and new directions for the development of anticancer drugs.

Manchanda R, Loggenberg K, Sanderson S, et al.
Population testing for cancer predisposing BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in the Ashkenazi-Jewish community: a randomized controlled trial.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(1):379 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Technological advances raise the possibility of systematic population-based genetic testing for cancer-predisposing mutations, but it is uncertain whether benefits outweigh disadvantages. We directly compared the psychological/quality-of-life consequences of such an approach to family history (FH)-based testing.
METHODS: In a randomized controlled trial of BRCA1/2 gene-mutation testing in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, we compared testing all participants in the population screening (PS) arm with testing those fulfilling standard FH-based clinical criteria (FH arm). Following a targeted community campaign, AJ participants older than 18 years were recruited by self-referral after pretest genetic counseling. The effects of BRCA1/2 genetic testing on acceptability, psychological impact, and quality-of-life measures were assessed by random effects regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: One thousand, one hundred sixty-eight AJ individuals were counseled, 1042 consented, 1034 were randomly assigned (691 women, 343 men), and 1017 were eligible for analysis. Mean age was 54.3 (SD = 14.66) years. Thirteen BRCA1/2 carriers were identified in the PS arm, nine in the FH arm. Five more carriers were detected among FH-negative FH-arm participants following study completion. There were no statistically significant differences between the FH and PS arms at seven days or three months on measures of anxiety, depression, health anxiety, distress, uncertainty, and quality-of-life. Contrast tests indicated that overall anxiety (P = .0001) and uncertainty (P = .005) associated with genetic testing decreased; positive experience scores increased (P = .0001); quality-of-life and health anxiety did not change with time. Overall, 56% of carriers did not fulfill clinical criteria for genetic testing, and the BRCA1/2 prevalence was 2.45%.
CONCLUSION: Compared with FH-based testing, population-based genetic testing in Ashkenazi Jews doesn't adversely affect short-term psychological/quality-of-life outcomes and may detect 56% additional BRCA carriers.

Rich TA, Woodson AH, Litton J, Arun B
Hereditary breast cancer syndromes and genetic testing.
J Surg Oncol. 2015; 111(1):66-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Only 5% of breast cancers are explained by highly penetrant multisystem autosomal dominant hereditary disorders. Though another 20-30% has a familial presentation, the genetic and other etiologies are still not well understood. Genetic testing is now widely available and multiple professional societies have published guidelines for testing and management. Genetic testing trends include utilization of multi-gene panels that take advantage of next-generation sequencing as well as testing for low- and moderate-penetrance susceptibility genes.

Ottini L
Male breast cancer: a rare disease that might uncover underlying pathways of breast cancer.
Nat Rev Cancer. 2014; 14(10):643 [PubMed] Related Publications
There are similarities between breast cancers that arise in men and women but there are also differences. What can be learned from male breast cancer to gain insight into breast cancer pathogenesis?

Kinney AY, Butler KM, Schwartz MD, et al.
Expanding access to BRCA1/2 genetic counseling with telephone delivery: a cluster randomized trial.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(12) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The growing demand for cancer genetic services underscores the need to consider approaches that enhance access and efficiency of genetic counseling. Telephone delivery of cancer genetic services may improve access to these services for individuals experiencing geographic (rural areas) and structural (travel time, transportation, childcare) barriers to access.
METHODS: This cluster-randomized clinical trial used population-based sampling of women at risk for BRCA1/2 mutations to compare telephone and in-person counseling for: 1) equivalency of testing uptake and 2) noninferiority of changes in psychosocial measures. Women 25 to 74 years of age with personal or family histories of breast or ovarian cancer and who were able to travel to one of 14 outreach clinics were invited to participate. Randomization was by family. Assessments were conducted at baseline one week after pretest and post-test counseling and at six months. Of the 988 women randomly assigned, 901 completed a follow-up assessment. Cluster bootstrap methods were used to estimate the 95% confidence interval (CI) for the difference between test uptake proportions, using a 10% equivalency margin. Differences in psychosocial outcomes for determining noninferiority were estimated using linear models together with one-sided 97.5% bootstrap CIs.
RESULTS: Uptake of BRCA1/2 testing was lower following telephone (21.8%) than in-person counseling (31.8%, difference = 10.2%, 95% CI = 3.9% to 16.3%; after imputation of missing data: difference = 9.2%, 95% CI = -0.1% to 24.6%). Telephone counseling fulfilled the criteria for noninferiority to in-person counseling for all measures.
CONCLUSIONS: BRCA1/2 telephone counseling, although leading to lower testing uptake, appears to be safe and as effective as in-person counseling with regard to minimizing adverse psychological reactions, promoting informed decision making, and delivering patient-centered communication for both rural and urban women.

Freund R, Kelsberg G, Safranek S
Clinical Inquiry: do oral contraceptives put women with a family history of breast cancer at increased risk?
J Fam Pract. 2014; 63(9):540, 549 [PubMed] Related Publications
A systematic review of the effect of combined OCPs on women with a family history of breast cancer found no additional increase in risk. Investigators identified 3 retrospective cohort studies (N=66,500, with 8500 cases) and 7 case-control studies (total 10,500 cases) from the past 40 years, most including women from the United States and Canada, but one including women from 5 continents.

Shen TK, Teknos TN, Toland AE, et al.
Salivary gland cancer in BRCA-positive families: a retrospective review.
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014; 140(12):1213-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
IMPORTANCE: Although an association between breast cancer and salivary gland cancers has been noted for decades, this is the first study, to our knowledge, to evaluate the possible linkage of BRCA gene mutations and this malignant neoplasm.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence of salivary gland cancers in a large BRCA gene mutation database with background rates in the general population.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This is a retrospective review (June 1, 2012, through April 31, 2013) of pedigrees from patients with breast cancer in The Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. A total of 5754 individuals were identified from 187 pedigrees, and their medical histories were reviewed for diagnoses of salivary gland tumors and BRCA testing. The pedigrees were restricted to provide a cohort of individuals with reasonable accuracy in family history by considering 3 generations of each pedigree, starting with the proband's generation and adding 1 generation above and below. The youngest generation was replaced with another older generation if there were no BRCA-related cancers or BRCA mutations recorded. Nonblood relatives of the proband (ie, stepparents and stepsiblings) were also excluded.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The rate of salivary gland cancers in the Clinical Center Genetics Program was compared with background incidence rates.
RESULTS: After applying the restrictions to the 187 pedigrees in the database, 5754 individuals were included in the cohort. Two parotid gland cancers, 2 salivary gland cancers not otherwise specified, and 1 adenoid cystic carcinoma were identified. One of these cancers likely did not segregate with the BRCA mutation, and another individual tested negative for the BRCA mutation, resulting in a rate of 3 of 5754 (0.052%).The observed rate of 3 of 5754 cases (0.052%) of head and neck cancers in BRCA-positive probands and likely carriers is significantly higher than the background incidence rate of 3 of 100,000 (0.003%) per year (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: We believe this is a significant observation that, when considered alongside other similarities between salivary glands and breast tissue, warrants further investigation into the nature of a possible linkage between germline BRCA mutations and salivary gland cancer.

Lancaster JM, Powell CB, Chen LM, et al.
Society of Gynecologic Oncology statement on risk assessment for inherited gynecologic cancer predispositions.
Gynecol Oncol. 2015; 136(1):3-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Women with germline mutations in the cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, associated with Hereditary Breast & Ovarian Cancer syndrome, have up to an 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer and up to a 46% lifetime risk of ovarian, tubal, and peritoneal cancers. Similarly, women with mutations in the DNA mismatch repair genes, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2, associated with the Lynch/Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) syndrome, have up to a 40-60% lifetime risk of both endometrial and colorectal cancers as well as a 9-12% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. Mutations in other genes including TP53, PTEN, and STK11 are responsible for hereditary syndromes associated with gynecologic, breast, and other cancers. Evaluation of the likelihood of a patient having one of these gynecologic cancer predisposition syndromes enables physicians to provide individualized assessments of cancer risk, as well as the opportunity to provide tailored screening and prevention strategies such as surveillance, chemoprevention, and prophylactic surgery that may reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with these syndromes. Evaluation for the presence of a hereditary cancer syndrome is a process that includes assessment of clinical and tumor characteristics, education and counseling conducted by a provider with expertise in cancer genetics, and may include genetic testing after appropriate consent is obtained. This commentary provides guidance on identification of patients who may benefit from assessment for the presence of a hereditary breast and/or gynecologic cancer syndrome.

Mersch J, Jackson MA, Park M, et al.
Cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations other than breast and ovarian.
Cancer. 2015; 121(2):269-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported additional cancers associated with BRCA mutations; however, the type, magnitude of risk, and sex differences remain to be clarified. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of cancers other than breast and ovarian cancer in known mutation carriers.
METHODS: An institutional review board-approved study identified 1072 patients who had genetic counseling at the authors' institution and tested positive for a deleterious BRCA mutation. The expected number of cancer cases was calculated from the number of individuals in the study sample multiplied by the cancer incidence rates for the general population. The expected and observed numbers of cases were calculated in 5-year intervals to accommodate different age-related incidence rates. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for each cancer type were calculated.
RESULTS: Among the 1072 mutation carriers, 1177 cancers of 30 different cancer types were identified. Individuals with a BRCA1 mutation did not have a significant increase in cancers other than breast and ovarian cancer; however, a trend in melanoma was observed. Individuals with a BRCA2 mutation had significantly higher numbers of observed cases versus expected cases for pancreatic cancer in both men and women (SIR, 21.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 13.1-34.0; P < .001) and for prostate cancer in men (SIR, 4.9; 95% CI, 2.0-10.1; P = .002).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study uphold the current recommendations for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer screening of cancers other than breast and ovarian cancer by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Larger cohorts and collaborations are needed to further verify these findings.

Sherman ME, Piedmonte M, Mai PL, et al.
Pathologic findings at risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy: primary results from Gynecologic Oncology Group Trial GOG-0199.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(29):3275-83 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/10/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) lowers mortality from ovarian/tubal and breast cancers among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Uncertainties persist regarding potential benefits of RRSO among high-risk noncarriers, optimal surgical age, and anatomic origin of clinically occult cancers detected at surgery. To address these topics, we analyzed surgical treatment arm results from Gynecologic Oncology Group Protocol-0199 (GOG-0199), the National Ovarian Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Study.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: This analysis included asymptomatic high-risk women age ≥ 30 years who elected RRSO at enrollment. Women provided risk factor data and underwent preoperative cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) serum testing and transvaginal ultrasound (TVU). RRSO specimens were processed according to a standardized tissue processing protocol and underwent central pathology panel review. Research-based BRCA1/2 mutation testing was performed when a participant's mutation status was unknown at enrollment. Relationships between participant characteristics and diagnostic findings were assessed using univariable statistics and multivariable logistic regression.
RESULTS: Invasive or intraepithelial ovarian/tubal/peritoneal neoplasms were detected in 25 (2.6%) of 966 RRSOs (BRCA1 mutation carriers, 4.6%; BRCA2 carriers, 3.5%; and noncarriers, 0.5%; P < .001). In multivariable models, positive BRCA1/2 mutation status (P = .0056), postmenopausal status (P = .0023), and abnormal CA-125 levels and/or TVU examinations (P < .001) were associated with detection of clinically occult neoplasms at RRSO. For 387 women with negative BRCA1/2 mutation testing and normal CA-125 levels, findings at RRSO were benign.
CONCLUSION: Clinically occult cancer was detected among 2.6% of high-risk women undergoing RRSO. BRCA1/2 mutation, postmenopausal status, and abnormal preoperative CA-125 and/or TVU were associated with cancer detection at RRSO. These data can inform management decisions among women at high risk of ovarian/tubal cancer.

Rybchenko LA, Bychkova AM, Skyban GV, Klymenko SV
Prognosis of probability of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations carriage in women with compromised family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Probl Radiac Med Radiobiol. 2013; (18):253-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Burdened family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer may indicate the mutations carriage in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
OBJECTIVE: Estimation and compare of the Manchester Scoring system, Penn II and Myriad algorithm in an ability to distinguish the cases with BRCA1/2 mutation those and no mutant alleles at the individual level among the Ukrainian women with early onset of a breast cancer and/or compromised family history with breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Results of genealogy, molecular genetic and morphological study from 44 females with breast cancer, with early development of the disease or family history of a breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer were the material of research. Determination of carriers BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations among women was performed by Manchester Scoring system and Penn II and Myriad algorithm.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Manchester Scoring system has better capacity to distinguish patients with and without mutant alleles at the individual level. The area under the curve of Manchester Scoring system is 0.84, Penn II - 0.66, Myriad - 0.68.

Tung N, Battelli C, Allen B, et al.
Frequency of mutations in individuals with breast cancer referred for BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing using next-generation sequencing with a 25-gene panel.
Cancer. 2015; 121(1):25-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Next-generation sequencing (NGS) allows for simultaneous sequencing of multiple cancer susceptibility genes and, for an individual, may be more efficient and less expensive than sequential testing. The authors assessed the frequency of deleterious germline mutations among individuals with breast cancer who were referred for BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) gene testing using a panel of 25 genes associated with inherited cancer predisposition.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using NGS in 2158 individuals, including 1781 who were referred for commercial BRCA1/2 gene testing (cohort 1) and 377 who had detailed personal and family history and had previously tested negative for BRCA1/2 mutations (cohort 2).
RESULTS: Mutations were identified in 16 genes, most frequently in BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, ATM, and PALB2. Among the participants in cohort 1, 9.3% carried a BRCA1/2 mutation, 3.9% carried a mutation in another breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility gene, and 0.3% carried an incidental mutation in another cancer susceptibility gene unrelated to breast or ovarian cancer. In cohort 2, the frequency of mutations in breast/ovarian-associated genes other than BRCA1/2 was 2.9%, and an additional 0.8% had an incidental mutation. In cohort 1, Lynch syndrome-related mutations were identified in 7 individuals. In contrast to BRCA1/2 mutations, neither age at breast cancer diagnosis nor family history of ovarian or young breast cancer predicted for other mutations. The frequency of mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2 was lower in Ashkenazi Jews compared with non-Ashkenazi individuals (P=.026).
CONCLUSIONS: Using an NGS 25-gene panel, the frequency of mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2 was 4.3%, and most mutations (3.9%) were identified in genes associated with breast/ovarian cancer.

Maier C, Herkommer K, Luedeke M, et al.
Subgroups of familial and aggressive prostate cancer with considerable frequencies of BRCA2 mutations.
Prostate. 2014; 74(14):1444-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: One of the known risk factors for prostate cancer (PrCa) is germline mutations in the BRCA2 gene. Previous searches for clinical characteristics which could identify a subgroup of patients enriched for mutation carriers revealed early onset and aggressive PrCa as useful parameters, but they are rather unspecific.
METHODS: Identification of BRCA2 mutation carriers by sequencing all exons of BRCA2 in a German cohort of 382 familial PrCa cases and of 92 sporadic PrCa cases with early onset (≤60 years). To define a subgroup of PrCa patients enriched for BRCA2 mutation carriers, we used clinical parameters including a detailed family history (FH) for PrCa and breast cancer.
RESULTS: Five BRCA2 mutations and ten variants of unknown significance (VUS) were identified. While the VUS were evenly distributed among the groups, mutation carriers were lacking from the sporadic cases and over represented among familial cases with aggressive disease. High prostate specific antigen (PSA) at diagnosis (>20 ng/ml) was the only criterion with significant enrichment of mutation carriers (6.4%, P = 0.0005). In men with aggressive disease, death from PrCa (6.3% including FH of lethal PrCa; P = 0.05) and FH of both prostate and breast cancer (4.8%; P = 0.3) increased the frequency of mutation carriers. Larger studies and/or meta-analyses are needed to validate these parameters.
CONCLUSIONS: We have identified three potentially useful criteria, high PSA, death from PrCa (patient or FH), and aggressive PrCa in combination with FH of breast and prostate cancer. If confirmed, they may become useful for the decision which patients may benefit from BRCA2 testing.

Akbari MR, Wallis CJ, Toi A, et al.
The impact of a BRCA2 mutation on mortality from screen-detected prostate cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(6):1238-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Men with a BRCA2 mutation face an increased risk of prostate cancer. These cancers tend to have an aggressive nature and it has not yet been demonstrated that regular screening of BRCA2 carriers is associated with improved survival.
METHODS: We identified 4187 men who underwent a prostate cancer biopsy for an elevated PSA or an abnormal digital rectal examination between 1998 and 2010. We screened the BRCA2 gene in its entirety for mutations and we followed the men for death from prostate cancer until December 2012.
RESULTS: The 12-year prostate cancer-specific survival rate was 94.3% for men without a BRCA2 mutation and was 61.8% for men with a mutation (P<10(-4); log-rank test).
CONCLUSIONS: The survival of men with screen-detected prostate cancer and a BRCA2 mutation is much poorer than expected.

Antoniou AC, Casadei S, Heikkinen T, et al.
Breast-cancer risk in families with mutations in PALB2.
N Engl J Med. 2014; 371(6):497-506 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Germline loss-of-function mutations in PALB2 are known to confer a predisposition to breast cancer. However, the lifetime risk of breast cancer that is conferred by such mutations remains unknown.
METHODS: We analyzed the risk of breast cancer among 362 members of 154 families who had deleterious truncating, splice, or deletion mutations in PALB2. The age-specific breast-cancer risk for mutation carriers was estimated with the use of a modified segregation-analysis approach that allowed for the effects of PALB2 genotype and residual familial aggregation.
RESULTS: The risk of breast cancer for female PALB2 mutation carriers, as compared with the general population, was eight to nine times as high among those younger than 40 years of age, six to eight times as high among those 40 to 60 years of age, and five times as high among those older than 60 years of age. The estimated cumulative risk of breast cancer among female mutation carriers was 14% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9 to 20) by 50 years of age and 35% (95% CI, 26 to 46) by 70 years of age. Breast-cancer risk was also significantly influenced by birth cohort (P<0.001) and by other familial factors (P=0.04). The absolute breast-cancer risk for PALB2 female mutation carriers by 70 years of age ranged from 33% (95% CI, 25 to 44) for those with no family history of breast cancer to 58% (95% CI, 50 to 66) for those with two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer at 50 years of age.
CONCLUSIONS: Loss-of-function mutations in PALB2 are an important cause of hereditary breast cancer, with respect both to the frequency of cancer-predisposing mutations and to the risk associated with them. Our data suggest the breast-cancer risk for PALB2 mutation carriers may overlap with that for BRCA2 mutation carriers. (Funded by the European Research Council and others.).

Janavičius R, Rudaitis V, Mickys U, et al.
Comprehensive BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutational profile in Lithuania.
Cancer Genet. 2014; 207(5):195-205 [PubMed] Related Publications
There is limited knowledge about the BRCA1/2 mutational profile in Lithuania. We aimed to define the full BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutational spectrum and the clinically relevant prevalence of these gene mutations in Lithuania. A data set of 753 unrelated probands, recruited through a clinical setting, was used and consisted of 380 female breast cancer cases, 213 epithelial ovarian cancer cases, 20 breast and ovarian cancer cases, and 140 probands with positive family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A comprehensive mutation analysis of the BRCA1/2 genes by high resolution melting analysis coupled with Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification analysis was performed. Genetic analysis revealed 32 different pathogenic germline BRCA1/2 mutations: 20 in the BRCA1 gene and 12 in the BRCA2 gene, including four different large genomic rearrangements in the BRCA1 gene. In all, 10 novel BRCA1/2 mutations were found. Nine different recurrent BRCA1 mutations and two recurrent BRCA2 mutations were identified, which comprised 90.4% of all BRCA1/2 mutations. BRCA1 exon 1-3 deletion and BRCA2 c.658_659del are reported for the first time as recurrent mutations, pointing to a possible Baltic founder effect. Approximately 7% of breast cancer and 22% of ovarian cancer patients without family history and an estimated 0.5-0.6% of all Lithuanian women were found to be carriers of mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Margel D, Benjaminov O, Ozalvo R, et al.
Personalized prostate cancer screening among men with high risk genetic predisposition- study protocol for a prospective cohort study.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:528 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer screening among the general population is highly debatable. Nevertheless, screening among high-risk groups is appealing. Prior data suggests that men carrying mutations in the BRCA1& 2 genes may be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, they appear to develop prostate cancer at a younger age and with a more aggressive course. However, prior studies did not systematically perform prostate biopsies and thus cannot determine the true prevalence of prostate cancer in this population.
METHODS: This will be a prospective diagnostic trial of screening for prostate cancer among men with genetic predisposition. The target population is males (40-70 year old) carrying a BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 germ line mutation. They will be identified via our Genetic counseling unit. All men after signing an informed consent will undergo the following tests: PSA, free to total PSA, MRI of prostate and prostate biopsy. The primary endpoint will be to estimate the prevalence, stage and grade of prostate cancer in this population. Additionally, the study aims to estimate the impact of these germ line mutations on benign prostatic hyperplasia. Furthermore, this study aims to create a bio-bank of tissue, urine and serum of this unique cohort for future investigations. Finally, this study will identify an inception cohort for future interventional studies of primary and secondary prevention.
DISCUSSION: The proposed research is highly translational and focuses not only on the clinical results, but on the future specimens that will be used to advance our understanding of prostate cancer patho-physiology. Most importantly, these high-risk germ-line mutation carriers are ideal candidates for primary and secondary prevention initiatives.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02053805.

Xu H, Xian J, Vire E, et al.
Up-regulation of the interferon-related genes in BRCA2 knockout epithelial cells.
J Pathol. 2014; 234(3):386-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
BRCA2 mutations are significantly associated with early-onset breast cancer, and the tumour-suppressing function of BRCA2 has been attributed to its involvement in homologous recombination (HR)-mediated DNA repair. In order to identify additional functions of BRCA2, we generated BRCA2-knockout HCT116 human colorectal carcinoma cells. Using genome-wide microarray analyses, we have discovered a link between the loss of BRCA2 and the up-regulation of a subset of interferon (IFN)-related genes, including APOBEC3F and APOBEC3G. The over-expression of IFN-related genes was confirmed in different human BRCA2(-/-) and mouse Brca2(-/-) tumour cell lines, and was independent of senescence and apoptosis. In isogenic wild-type BRCA2 cells, we observed over-expression of IFN-related genes after treatment with DNA-damaging agents, and following ionizing radiation. Cells with endogenous DNA damage because of defective BRCA1 or RAD51 also exhibited over-expression of IFN-related genes. Transcriptional activity of the IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) was increased in BRCA2 knockout cells, and the expression of BRCA2 greatly decreased IFNα-stimulated ISRE reporter activity, suggesting that BRCA2 directly represses the expression of IFN-related genes through the ISRE. Finally, the colony-forming capacity of BRCA2 knockout cells was significantly reduced in the presence of either IFNβ or IFNγ, suggesting that IFNs may have potential as therapeutic agents in cancer cells with BRCA2 mutations. The GEO Accession No. for microarray analysis is GSE54830.

Cass I, Walts AE, Barbuto D, et al.
A cautious view of putative precursors of serous carcinomas in the fallopian tubes of BRCA mutation carriers.
Gynecol Oncol. 2014; 134(3):492-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To compare the frequency and distribution of candidate precursors of serous carcinoma in the fallopian tubes of BRCA mutation carriers to BRCA non-mutation carriers (controls) at risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO).
METHODS: 78 BRCA carriers (52 BRCA1, 26 BRCA2) and 23 controls underwent RRSO. Fallopian tubes were serially cross-sectioned, and adnexa were entirely submitted and examined by two gynecologic pathologists blinded to BRCA mutation status. The presence and location of serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC), p53 overexpression (≥ 6 consecutively stained nuclei), Ki67 overexpression, atypia/low grade dysplasia and epithelial hyperplasia were compared between BRCA carriers and controls. Patient age was dichotomized: ≤ 50 and >50 years.
RESULTS: 9 (12%) BRCA carriers had occult carcinoma: 8 STIC and 1 stage IC tubal carcinoma with STIC. No occult carcinomas or STIC was seen in controls. STIC involved the distal tube in all cases and was multifocal in three cases. STIC was more common in women >50 (p=0.06). P53 overexpression was common in BRCA carriers (30%) and controls (43%) (p=0.5) and did not correlate with age. Only 5/9 (55%) of STIC exhibited p53 overexpression. 2 patients had Ki67 overexpression: both BRCA1 carriers with STIC. No difference in the frequency of atypia/low grade dysplasia or hyperplasia was observed between BRCA carriers and controls.
CONCLUSIONS: STIC is the dominant precursor of serous fallopian tube carcinoma in BRCA carriers. There is insufficient evidence to support p53 overexpression alone as a putative precursor. Atypia/low grade dysplasia and epithelial hyperplasia are not pre-neoplastic lesions of serous fallopian tube carcinoma.

Lou DI, McBee RM, Le UQ, et al.
Rapid evolution of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in humans and other primates.
BMC Evol Biol. 2014; 14:155 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The maintenance of chromosomal integrity is an essential task of every living organism and cellular repair mechanisms exist to guard against insults to DNA. Given the importance of this process, it is expected that DNA repair proteins would be evolutionarily conserved, exhibiting very minimal sequence change over time. However, BRCA1, an essential gene involved in DNA repair, has been reported to be evolving rapidly despite the fact that many protein-altering mutations within this gene convey a significantly elevated risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
RESULTS: To obtain a deeper understanding of the evolutionary trajectory of BRCA1, we analyzed complete BRCA1 gene sequences from 23 primate species. We show that specific amino acid sites have experienced repeated selection for amino acid replacement over primate evolution. This selection has been focused specifically on humans and our closest living relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). After examining BRCA1 polymorphisms in 7 bonobo, 44 chimpanzee, and 44 rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) individuals, we find considerable variation within each of these species and evidence for recent selection in chimpanzee populations. Finally, we also sequenced and analyzed BRCA2 from 24 primate species and find that this gene has also evolved under positive selection.
CONCLUSIONS: While mutations leading to truncated forms of BRCA1 are clearly linked to cancer phenotypes in humans, there is also an underlying selective pressure in favor of amino acid-altering substitutions in this gene. A hypothesis where viruses are the drivers of this natural selection is discussed.

Brohl AS, Solomon DA, Chang W, et al.
The genomic landscape of the Ewing Sarcoma family of tumors reveals recurrent STAG2 mutation.
PLoS Genet. 2014; 10(7):e1004475 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/10/2015 Related Publications
The Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (EFT) is a group of highly malignant small round blue cell tumors occurring in children and young adults. We report here the largest genomic survey to date of 101 EFT (65 tumors and 36 cell lines). Using a combination of whole genome sequencing and targeted sequencing approaches, we discover that EFT has a very low mutational burden (0.15 mutations/Mb) but frequent deleterious mutations in the cohesin complex subunit STAG2 (21.5% tumors, 44.4% cell lines), homozygous deletion of CDKN2A (13.8% and 50%) and mutations of TP53 (6.2% and 71.9%). We additionally note an increased prevalence of the BRCA2 K3326X polymorphism in EFT patient samples (7.3%) compared to population data (OR 7.1, p = 0.006). Using whole transcriptome sequencing, we find that 11% of tumors pathologically diagnosed as EFT lack a typical EWSR1 fusion oncogene and that these tumors do not have a characteristic Ewing sarcoma gene expression signature. We identify samples harboring novel fusion genes including FUS-NCATc2 and CIC-FOXO4 that may represent distinct small round blue cell tumor variants. In an independent EFT tissue microarray cohort, we show that STAG2 loss as detected by immunohistochemistry may be associated with more advanced disease (p = 0.15) and a modest decrease in overall survival (p = 0.10). These results significantly advance our understanding of the genomic and molecular underpinnings of Ewing sarcoma and provide a foundation towards further efforts to improve diagnosis, prognosis, and precision therapeutics testing.

Park JY, Zhang F, Andreassen PR
PALB2: the hub of a network of tumor suppressors involved in DNA damage responses.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1846(1):263-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
PALB2 was first identified as a partner of BRCA2 that mediates its recruitment to sites of DNA damage. PALB2 was subsequently found as a tumor suppressor gene. Inherited heterozygosity for this gene is associated with an increased risk of cancer of the breast and other sites. Additionally, biallelic mutation of PALB2 is linked to Fanconi anemia, which also has an increased risk of developing malignant disease. Recent work has identified numerous interactions of PALB2, suggesting that it functions in a network of proteins encoded by tumor suppressors. Notably, many of these tumor suppressors are related to the cellular response to DNA damage. The recruitment of PALB2 to DNA double-strand breaks at the head of this network is via a ubiquitin-dependent signaling pathway that involves the RAP80, Abraxas and BRCA1 tumor suppressors. Next, PALB2 interacts with BRCA2, which is a tumor suppressor, and with the RAD51 recombinase. These interactions promote DNA repair by homologous recombination (HR). More recently, PALB2 has been found to bind the RAD51 paralog, RAD51C, as well as the translesion polymerase pol η, both of which are tumor suppressors with functions in HR. Further, an interaction with MRG15, which is related to chromatin regulation, may facilitate DNA repair in damaged chromatin. Finally, PALB2 interacts with KEAP1, a regulator of the response to oxidative stress. The PALB2 network appears to mediate the maintenance of genome stability, may explain the association of many of the corresponding genes with similar spectra of tumors, and could present novel therapeutic opportunities.

Wen H, Kim YC, Snyder C, et al.
Family-specific, novel, deleterious germline variants provide a rich resource to identify genetic predispositions for BRCAx familial breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:470 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic predisposition is the primary risk factor for familial breast cancer. For the majority of familial breast cancer, however, the genetic predispositions remain unknown. All newly identified predispositions occur rarely in disease population, and the unknown genetic predispositions are estimated to reach up to total thousands. Family unit is the basic structure of genetics. Because it is an autosomal dominant disease, individuals with a history of familial breast cancer must carry the same genetic predisposition across generations. Therefore, focusing on the cases in lineages of familial breast cancer, rather than pooled cases in disease population, is expected to provide high probability to identify the genetic predisposition for each family.
METHODS: In this study, we tested genetic predispositions by analyzing the family-specific variants in familial breast cancer. Using exome sequencing, we analyzed three families and 22 probands with BRCAx (BRCA-negative) familial breast cancer.
RESULTS: We observed the presence of family-specific, novel, deleterious germline variants in each family. Of the germline variants identified, many were shared between the disease-affected family members of the same family but not found in different families, which have their own specific variants. Certain variants are putative deleterious genetic predispositions damaging functionally important genes involved in DNA replication and damaging repair, tumor suppression, signal transduction, and phosphorylation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that the predispositions for many BRCAx familial breast cancer families can lie in each disease family. The application of a family-focused approach has the potential to detect many new predispositions.

Safra T, Grisaru D, Inbar M, et al.
Cytoreduction surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy in recurrent ovarian cancer improves progression-free survival, especially in BRCA-positive patients- a case-control study.
J Surg Oncol. 2014; 110(6):661-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Approximately 70% of women diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer experience disease recurrence. Survival data were compared between a group of recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer (rEOC) patients treated by cytoreduction and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and a matched group of rEOC patients treated by systemic chemotherapy only (without surgery). Treatment outcome in relation to the patients' BRCA status was compared.
METHODS: Twenty-seven rEOC patients treated by cytoreduction and HIPEC were selected from our database and matched (1:3) with 84 rEOC patients treated with chemotherapy only. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in the two groups were analyzed and compared.
RESULTS: The estimated median PFS was 15 months in the HIPEC group and 6 months in the systemic chemotherapy group (P = 0.001). The median OS following HIPEC treatment has not been reached, since more than 70% of the women were alive at the time of analysis. The 5-year survival rate was significantly higher in the HIPEC treated patients compared to that of the controls (79% vs. 45%, P = 0.016). BRCA status did not affect PFS.
CONCLUSIONS: HIPEC after surgical cytoreduction in patients with rEOC appears beneficial compared to systemic chemotherapy treatment alone. The benefit is even greater in BRCA mutation carriers.

Li YT, Ni D, Yang L, et al.
The prevalence of BRCA1/2 mutations of triple-negative breast cancer patients in Xinjiang multiple ethnic region of China.
Eur J Med Res. 2014; 19:35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The screening of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is now an established component of risk evaluation and management of familial breast cancer, early-onset breast cancer and bilateral breast cancer patients. There is still some controversy about whether this screening should be done in triple-negative breast cancers. Therefore, we evaluated the BRCA mutation prevalence in patients with triple-negative breast cancer in a multi-ethnic region of China.
METHODS: A total 96 women who were diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in the Xinjiang region of China were enrolled in this study. BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening was performed by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (PCR-DHPLC) sequencing analysis. All mutations were confirmed with direct sequencing.
RESULTS: The prevalence of a BRCA1/2 germline mutation was about 25% (24/96) in the Xinjiang region of China. Among 35 selected cases with a family history and/or bilateral breast cancers, the BRCA1/2 mutation prevalence was 25.7% (9/35). Of the remaining 61 patients with unselected triple-negative breast cancer, the BRCA1/2 mutation prevalence was 24.6% (15/61), and all 15 individuals with these mutations were premenopausal patients.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that premenopausal women with triple-negative breast cancer may be candidates for genetic testing for BRCA1/2 in the Xinjiang region of China, even in the absence of a family history or bilateral breast cancer.

Feilotter HE, Michel C, Uy P, et al.
BRCA1 haploinsufficiency leads to altered expression of genes involved in cellular proliferation and development.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e100068 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2015 Related Publications
The assessment of BRCA1 and BRCA2 coding sequences to identify pathogenic mutations associated with inherited breast/ovarian cancer syndrome has provided a method to identify high-risk individuals, allowing them to seek preventative treatments and strategies. However, the current test is expensive, and cannot differentiate between pathogenic variants and those that may be benign. Focusing only on one of the two BRCA partners, we have developed a biological assay for haploinsufficiency of BRCA1. Using a series of EBV-transformed cell lines, we explored gene expression patterns in cells that were BRCA1 wildtype compared to those that carried (heterozygous) BRCA1 pathogenic mutations. We identified a subset of 43 genes whose combined expression pattern is a sensitive predictor of BRCA1 status. The gene set was disproportionately made up of genes involved in cellular differentiation, lending credence to the hypothesis that single copy loss of BRCA1 function may impact differentiation, rendering cells more susceptible to undergoing malignant processes.

Heemskerk-Gerritsen BA, Rookus MA, Aalfs CM, et al.
Improved overall survival after contralateral risk-reducing mastectomy in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with a history of unilateral breast cancer: a prospective analysis.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(3):668-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Data on survival of BRCA1/2-associated primary breast cancer (PBC) patients who opt for subsequent contralateral risk-reducing mastectomy (CRRM) are scarce and inconsistent. We examined the efficacy of CRRM on overall survival in mutation carriers with a history of PBC. From a Dutch multicentre cohort, we selected 583 BRCA-associated PBC patients, being diagnosed between 1980 and 2011. Over time, 242 patients (42%) underwent CRRM and 341 patients (58%) remained under surveillance. Survival analyses were performed using Cox models, with CRRM as a time-dependent covariate. The median follow-up after PBC diagnosis was 11.4 years. In the CRRM group, four patients developed contralateral breast cancer (2%), against 64 patients (19%) in the surveillance group (p < 0.001). The mortality was lower in the CRRM group than in the surveillance group (9.6 and 21.6 per 1000 person-years of observation, respectively; adjusted hazard ratio 0.49, 95% confidence interval 0.29-0.82). Survival benefit was especially seen in young PBC patients (<40 years), in patients having a PBC with differentiation grade 1/2 and/or no triple-negative phenotype, and in patients not treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. We conclude that CRRM is associated with improved overall survival in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with a history of PBC. Further research is warranted to develop a model based on age at diagnosis and tumour and treatment characteristics that can predict survival benefit for specific subgroups of patients, aiming at further personalized counselling and improved decision making.

Yadav DS, Chattopadhyay I, Verma A, et al.
A pilot study evaluating genetic alterations that drive tobacco- and betel quid-associated oral cancer in Northeast India.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):9317-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The susceptibility of an individual to oral cancer is mediated by genetic factors and carcinogen-exposure behaviors such as betel quid chewing, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. This pilot study was aimed to identify the genetic alteration in 100 bp upstream and downstream flanking regions in addition to the exonic regions of 169 cancer-associated genes by using Next Generation sequencing with aim to elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of tobacco- and betel quid-associated oral cancer of Northeast India. To understand the role of chemical compounds present in tobacco and betel quid associated with the progression of oral cancer, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion and deletion (Indels) found in this study were analyzed for their association with chemical compounds found in tobacco and betel quid using Comparative Toxogenomic Database. Genes (AR, BRCA1, IL8, and TP53) with novel SNP were found to be associated with arecoline which is the major component of areca nut. Genes (BARD1, BRCA2, CCND2, IGF1R, MSH6, and RASSF1) with novel deletion and genes (APC, BRMS1, CDK2AP1, CDKN2B, GAS1, IGF1R, and RB1) with novel insertion were found to be associated with aflatoxin B1 which is produced by fermented areca nut. Genes (ADH6, APC, AR, BARD1, BRMS1, CDKN1A, E2F1, FGFR4, FLNC, HRAS, IGF1R, IL12B, IL8, NBL1, STAT5B, and TP53) with novel SNP were found to be associated with aflatoxin B1. Genes (ATM, BRCA1, CDKN1A, EGFR, IL8, and TP53) with novel SNP were found to be associated with tobacco specific nitrosamines.

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