The 1100delC mutation in the CHEK2 gene has a carrier frequency of up to 1.5% in individuals from North-West Europe. Women heterozygous for 1100delC have an increased breast cancer risk (odds ratio 2.7). To explore the prevalence and clinical consequences of 1100delC homozygosity in the Netherlands, we genotyped a sporadic breast cancer hospital-based cohort, a group of non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families, and breast tumors from a tumor tissue bank. Three 1100delC homozygous patients were found in the cohort of 1434 sporadic breast cancer patients, suggesting an increased breast cancer risk for 1100delC homozygotes (odds ratio 3.4, 95% confidence interval 0.4–32.6, P=0.3). Another 1100delC homozygote was found in 592 individuals from 108 non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families, and two more were found after testing 1706 breast tumors and confirming homozygosity on their wild-type DNA. Follow-up data was available for five homozygous patients, and remarkably, three of them had developed contralateral breast cancer. A possible relationship between 1100delC and lung cancer risk was investigated in 457 unrelated lung cancer patients but could not be confirmed. Due to the small number of 1100delC homozygotes identified, the breast cancer risk estimate associated with this genotype had limited accuracy but is probably higher than the risk in heterozygous females. Screening for CHEK2 1100delC could be beneficial in countries with a relatively high allele frequency.
CHEK2; 1100delC homozygotes; genotype risk; bilateral breast cancer; lung cancer
Genetic variations, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNAs (miRNA) or in the miRNA binding sites may affect the miRNA dependent gene expression regulation, which has been implicated in various cancers, including breast cancer, and may alter individual susceptibility to cancer. We investigated associations between miRNA related SNPs and breast cancer risk. First we evaluated 2,196 SNPs in a case-control study combining nine genome wide association studies (GWAS). Second, we further investigated 42 SNPs with suggestive evidence for association using 41,785 cases and 41,880 controls from 41 studies included in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Combining the GWAS and BCAC data within a meta-analysis, we estimated main effects on breast cancer risk as well as risks for estrogen receptor (ER) and age defined subgroups. Five miRNA binding site SNPs associated significantly with breast cancer risk: rs1045494 (odds ratio (OR) 0.92; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88–0.96), rs1052532 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99), rs10719 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.94–0.99), rs4687554 (OR 0.97; 95% CI: 0.95–0.99, and rs3134615 (OR 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.05) located in the 3′ UTR of CASP8, HDDC3, DROSHA, MUSTN1, and MYCL1, respectively. DROSHA belongs to miRNA machinery genes and has a central role in initial miRNA processing. The remaining genes are involved in different molecular functions, including apoptosis and gene expression regulation. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether the miRNA binding site SNPs are the causative variants for the observed risk effects.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in the DNA Base Excision Repair (BER) pathway could be associated with cancer risk in carriers of mutations in the high-penetrance susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, given the relation of synthetic lethality that exists between one of the components of the BER pathway, PARP1 (poly ADP ribose polymerase), and both BRCA1 and BRCA2. In the present study, we have performed a comprehensive analysis of 18 genes involved in BER using a tagging SNP approach in a large series of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. 144 SNPs were analyzed in a two stage study involving 23,463 carriers from the CIMBA consortium (the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1 and BRCA2). Eleven SNPs showed evidence of association with breast and/or ovarian cancer at p<0.05 in the combined analysis. Four of the five genes for which strongest evidence of association was observed were DNA glycosylases. The strongest evidence was for rs1466785 in the NEIL2 (endonuclease VIII-like 2) gene (HR: 1.09, 95% CI (1.03–1.16), p = 2.7×10−3) for association with breast cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers, and rs2304277 in the OGG1 (8-guanine DNA glycosylase) gene, with ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers (HR: 1.12 95%CI: 1.03–1.21, p = 4.8×10−3). DNA glycosylases involved in the first steps of the BER pathway may be associated with cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and should be more comprehensively studied.
Women harboring a germ-line mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a high lifetime risk to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. However, not all carriers develop cancer and high variability exists regarding age of onset of the disease and type of tumor. One of the causes of this variability lies in other genetic factors that modulate the phenotype, the so-called modifier genes. Identification of these genes might have important implications for risk assessment and decision making regarding prevention of the disease. Given that BRCA1 and BRCA2 participate in the repair of DNA double strand breaks, here we have investigated whether variations, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), in genes participating in other DNA repair pathway may be associated with cancer risk in BRCA carriers. We have selected the Base Excision Repair pathway because BRCA defective cells are extremely sensitive to the inhibition of one of its components, PARP1. Thanks to a large international collaborative effort, we have been able to identify at least two SNPs that are associated with increased cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers respectively. These findings could have implications not only for risk assessment, but also for treatment of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with PARP inhibitors.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Common variants at 27 loci have been identified as associated with susceptibility to breast cancer, and these account for ~9% of the familial risk of the disease. We report here a meta-analysis of 9 genome-wide association studies, including 10,052 breast cancer cases and 12,575 controls of European ancestry, from which we selected 29,807 SNPs for further genotyping. These SNPs were genotyped in 45,290 cases and 41,880 controls of European ancestry from 41 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). The SNPs were genotyped as part of a collaborative genotyping experiment involving four consortia (Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, COGS) and used a custom Illumina iSelect genotyping array, iCOGS, comprising more than 200,000 SNPs. We identified SNPs at 41 new breast cancer susceptibility loci at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). Further analyses suggest that more than 1,000 additional loci are involved in breast cancer susceptibility.
Meaning-focused coping may be at the core of adequate adjustment to life after cancer. Cancer survivors who experience their life as meaningful are better adjusted, have better quality of life and psychological functioning. Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy for Cancer Survivors (MCGP-CS) was designed to help patients to sustain or enhance a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. The aim of the proposed study is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of MCGP-CS.
Survivors diagnosed with cancer in the last 5 years and treated with curative intent, are recruited via several hospitals in the Netherlands. After screening, 168 survivors are randomly assigned to one of the three study arms: 1. Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy (MCGP-CS) 2. Supportive group psychotherapy (SGP) 3. Care as usual (CAU). Baseline assessment takes place before randomisation, with follow up assessments post-intervention and at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up. Primary outcome is meaning making (PMP, PTGI, SPWB). Secondary outcome measures address quality of life (EORTC-30), anxiety and depression (HADS), hopelessness (BHS), optimism (LOT-R), adjustment to cancer (MAC), and costs (TIC-P, EQ-5D, PRODISQ).
Meaning-focused coping is key to adjustment to life after cancer, however, there is a lack of evidence based psychological interventions in this area. Many cancer survivors experience feelings of loneliness and alienation, and have a need for peer support, therefore a group method in particular, can be beneficial for sustaining or enhancing a sense of meaning. If this MCGP-CS is effective for cancer survivors, it can be implemented in the practice of psycho-oncology care.
Netherlands Trial Register, NTR3571
Cancer; Survivorship; Meaning; Psycho-oncology; Existential distress; Group psychotherapy; Effectiveness; Cost-effectiveness
Genetic testing has its greatest public health value when it identifies individuals who will benefit from specific interventions based upon their risk. This paradigm is the basis for the use of predictive tests, such as BRCA1/BRCA2 testing which has become part of clinical practice for more than a decade. Currently predictive BRCA1/BRCA2 testing is offered to women using low, moderate and high risk based upon family history as cut-off levels. Non-genetic health professionals such as general practitioners (GPs) and breast surgeons (BS) are seen as gatekeepers to manage demand and/or facilitate access to appropriate services for high-risk patients. Data about current practices are lacking. The paper presents data on the current practice of GPs' and BS' cancer risk assessment, referral practices and preferred practice responsibilities for women at risk for familial breast cancer in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK derived by a self-administered questionnaire send to a representative sample of GPs and BS in the four countries. One thousand one hundred ninety-seven GPs and 1,223 BS completed the questionnaire. Both GPs and BS reported that they are consulted by a considerable number of patients presenting with concerns about a family history of cancer. Both commonalities and striking differences could be observed between GPs and BS from the four participating countries. GPs from France and Germany reported significantly higher proportions taking a family history of cancer including the extended family than GPs from the Netherlands and the UK. Most GPs from France, Germany and the Netherlands stated their willingness for providing risk assessment for an unaffected (high-risk) woman with a family history of breast cancer and the vast majority of BS from all four countries reported that they themselves would provide risk assessment for an unaffected (high-risk) woman with a family history of breast cancer. However, a substantial number of both GPs and BS would not have taken an appropriate family history for their patient failing to take into account the paternal side of the family. GPs from Germany reported a significantly lower readiness to refer a patient with a family history of a BRCA1 mutation for specialist genetic counselling when compared to the GPs from the other countries. GPs and BS from France, Germany and the Netherlands significantly less often assigned practice responsibilities to a genetic specialist as compared to the participating GPs and BS from the UK. The outcome of the study confirms the need for capability building in genetics for non-genetic health professionals. Using genetic risk assessment tools without a full understanding could result in missed opportunities for cancer prevention and harm patients. In order to provide best possible services for high-risk patients presenting with cancer concerns, close collaboration with clinical geneticists should become routine part of mainstream medical practice.
Clinical classification of rare sequence changes identified in the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 is essential for appropriate genetic counselling of individuals carrying these variants. We previously showed that variant BRCA1 c.5096G>A p. Arg1699Gln in the BRCA1 transcriptional transactivation domain demonstrated equivocal results from a series of functional assays, and proposed that this variant may confer low to moderate risk of cancer.
Measures of genetic risk (report of family history, segregation) were assessed for 68 BRCA1 c.5096G>A p.Arg1699Gln (R1699Q) families recruited through family cancer clinics, comparing results with 34 families carrying the previously classified pathogenic BRCA1 c.5095C>T p.Arg1699Trp (R1699W) mutation at the same residue, and to 243 breast cancer families with no BRCA1 pathogenic mutation (BRCA-X).
Comparison of BRCA1 carrier prediction scores of probands using the BOADICEA risk prediction tool revealed that BRCA1 c.5096G>A p.Arg1699Gln variant carriers had family histories that were less ‘BRCA1-like’ than BRCA1 c.5095C>T p.Arg1699Trp mutation carriers (p<0.00001), but more ‘BRCA1-like’ than BRCA-X families (p=0.0004). Further, modified segregation analysis of the subset of 30 families with additional genotyping showed that BRCA1 c.5096G >A p. Arg1699Gln had reduced penetrance compared with the average truncating BRCA1 mutation penetrance (p=0.0002), with estimated cumulative risks to age 70 of breast or ovarian cancer of 24%.
Our results provide substantial evidence that the BRCA1 c.5096G>A p.Arg1699Gln (R1699Q) variant, demonstrating ambiguous functional deficiency across multiple assays, is associated with intermediate risk of breast and ovarian cancer, highlighting challenges for risk modelling and clinical management of patients of this and other potential moderate-risk variants.
Inadequate understanding of risk among counselees is a common problem in familial cancer clinics. It has been suggested that graphical displays can help counselees understand cancer risks and subsequent decision-making. We evaluated the effects of a graphical presentation in addition to a frequency format on counselees’ understanding, psychological well-being, and preventive intentions.
Design: Multicenter controlled trial.
Setting: Three familial cancer clinics in the Netherlands.
Participants: Unaffected women with a breast cancer family history (first-time attendees).
Intervention: Immediately after standard genetic counseling, an additional consultation by a trained risk counselor took place where women were presented with their lifetime breast cancer risk in frequency format (X out of 100) (n = 63) or frequency format plus graphical display (10 × 10 human icons) (n = 91).
Main outcome measures: understanding of risk (risk accuracy, risk perception), psychological well-being, and intentions regarding cancer prevention. Measurements were assessed using questionnaires at baseline, 2-week and 6-month follow-up.
Baseline participant characteristics did not differ between the two groups. In both groups there was an increase in women’s risk accuracy from baseline to follow-up. No significant differences were found between women who received the frequency format and those who received an additional graphical display in terms of understanding, psychological well-being and intentions regarding cancer prevention. The groups did not differ in their evaluation of the process of counseling.
Women’s personal risk estimation accuracy was generally high at baseline and the results suggest that an additional graphical display does not lead to a significant benefit in terms of increasing understanding of risk, psychological well-being and preventive intentions.
Current Controlled Trials http://ISRCTN14566836
Breast cancer; Genetic counseling; Risk communication; Risk perception; Cancer worry; Decision-making; Graphical display
The identification of the two most prevalent susceptibility genes in breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, was the beginning of a sustained effort to uncover new genes explaining the missing heritability in this disease. Today, additional high, moderate and low penetrance genes have been identified in breast cancer, such as P53, PTEN, STK11, PALB2 or ATM, globally accounting for around 35 percent of the familial cases. In the present study we used massively parallel sequencing to analyze 7 BRCA1/BRCA2 negative families, each having at least 6 affected women with breast cancer (between 6 and 10) diagnosed under the age of 60 across generations. After extensive filtering, Sanger sequencing validation and co-segregation studies, variants were prioritized through either control-population studies, including up to 750 healthy individuals, or case-control assays comprising approximately 5300 samples. As a result, a known moderate susceptibility indel variant (CHEK2 1100delC) and a catalogue of 11 rare variants presenting signs of association with breast cancer were identified. All the affected genes are involved in important cellular mechanisms like DNA repair, cell proliferation and survival or cell cycle regulation. This study highlights the need to investigate the role of rare variants in familial cancer development by means of novel high throughput analysis strategies optimized for genetically heterogeneous scenarios. Even considering the intrinsic limitations of exome resequencing studies, our findings support the hypothesis that the majority of non-BRCA1/BRCA2 breast cancer families might be explained by the action of moderate and/or low penetrance susceptibility alleles.
We previously reported significant associations between genetic variants in insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) and breast cancer risk in women carrying BRCA1 mutations. The objectives of this study were to investigate whether the IRS1 variants modified ovarian cancer risk and were associated with breast cancer risk in a larger cohort of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
IRS1 rs1801123, rs1330645, and rs1801278 were genotyped in samples from 36 centers in the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). Data were analyzed by a retrospective cohort approach modeling the associations with breast and ovarian cancer risks simultaneously. Analyses were stratified by BRCA1 and BRCA2 status and mutation class in BRCA1 carriers.
Rs1801278 (Gly972Arg) was associated with ovarian cancer risk for both BRCA1 [Hazard ratio (HR) = 1.43; 95% CI: 1.06–1.92; p = 0.019] and BRCA2 mutation carriers (HR=2.21; 95% CI: 1.39–3.52, p=0.0008). For BRCA1 mutation carriers, the breast cancer risk was higher in carriers with class 2 mutations than class 1 (mutations (class 2 HR=1.86, 95% CI: 1.28–2.70; class 1 HR=0.86, 95%CI:0.69–1.09; p-for difference=0.0006). Rs13306465 was associated with ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 class 2 mutation carriers (HR = 2.42; p = 0.03).
The IRS1 Gly972Arg SNP, which affects insulin-like growth factor and insulin signaling, modifies ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and breast cancer risk in BRCA1 class 2 mutation carriers.
These findings may prove useful for risk prediction for breast and ovarian cancers in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Breast cancer; Ovarian cancer; BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers; insulin receptor substrate 1; Insulin-like growth factor /insulin (IGF/INS) signaling
The bulk of familial breast cancer risk (∼70%) cannot be explained by mutations in the known predisposition genes, primarily BRCA1 and BRCA2. Underlying genetic heterogeneity in these cases is the probable explanation for the failure of all attempts to identify further high-risk alleles. While exome sequencing of non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer cases is a promising strategy to detect new high-risk genes, rational approaches to the rigorous pre-selection of cases are needed to reduce heterogeneity. We selected six families in which the tumours of multiple cases showed a specific genomic profile on array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). Linkage analysis in these families revealed a region on chromosome 4 with a LOD score of 2.49 under homogeneity. We then analysed the germline DNA of two patients from each family using exome sequencing. Initially focusing on the linkage region, no potentially pathogenic variants could be identified in more than one family. Variants outside the linkage region were then analysed, and we detected multiple possibly pathogenic variants in genes that encode DNA integrity maintenance proteins. However, further analysis led to the rejection of all variants due to poor co-segregation or a relatively high allele frequency in a control population. We concluded that using CGH results to focus on a sub-set of families for sequencing analysis did not enable us to identify a common genetic change responsible for the aggregation of breast cancer in these families. Our data also support the emerging view that non-BRCA1/2 hereditary breast cancer families have a very heterogeneous genetic basis.
Mutations in the BRCA1 gene substantially increase a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer. However, there is great variation in this increase in risk with several genetic and non-genetic modifiers identified. The BRCA1 protein plays a central role in DNA repair, a mechanism that is particularly instrumental in safeguarding cells against tumorigenesis. We hypothesized that polymorphisms that alter the expression and/or function of BRCA1 carried on the wild-type (non-mutated) copy of the BRCA1 gene would modify the risk of breast cancer in carriers of BRCA1 mutations. A total of 9874 BRCA1 mutation carriers were available in the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA) for haplotype analyses of BRCA1. Women carrying the rare allele of single nucleotide polymorphism rs16942 on the wild-type copy of BRCA1 were at decreased risk of breast cancer (hazard ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.77–0.95, P = 0.003). Promoter in vitro assays of the major BRCA1 haplotypes showed that common polymorphisms in the regulatory region alter its activity and that this effect may be attributed to the differential binding affinity of nuclear proteins. In conclusion, variants on the wild-type copy of BRCA1 modify risk of breast cancer among carriers of BRCA1 mutations, possibly by altering the efficiency of BRCA1 transcription.
Abstract Three founder mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 contribute to the risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi Jews (AJ). They are observed at increased frequency in the AJ compared to other BRCA mutations in Caucasian non-Jews (CNJ). Several authors have proposed that elevated allele frequencies in the surrounding genomic regions reflect adaptive or balancing selection. Such proposals predict long-range linkage dis-equilibrium (LD) resulting from a selective sweep, although genetic drift in a founder population may also act to create long-distance LD. To date, few studies have used the tools of statistical genomics to examine the likelihood of long-range LD at a deleterious locus in a population that faced a genetic bottleneck. We studied the genotypes of hundreds of women from a large international consortium of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and found that AJ women exhibited long-range haplotypes compared to CNJ women. More than 50% of the AJ chromosomes with the BRCA1 185delAG mutation share an identical 2.1 Mb haplotype and nearly 16% of AJ chromosomes carrying the BRCA2 6174delT mutation share a 1.4 Mb haplotype. Simulations based on the best inference of Ashkenazi population demography indicate that long-range haplotypes are expected in the context of a genome-wide survey. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that a local bottleneck effect from population size constriction events could by chance have resulted in the large haplotype blocks observed at high frequency in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 regions of Ashkenazi Jews.
Germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are associated with increased risks of breast and ovarian cancer. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified six alleles associated with risk of ovarian cancer for women in the general population. We evaluated four of these loci as potential modifiers of ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs10088218 (at 8q24), rs2665390 (at 3q25), rs717852 (at 2q31), and rs9303542 (at 17q21), were genotyped in 12,599 BRCA1 and 7,132 BRCA2 carriers, including 2,678 ovarian cancer cases. Associations were evaluated within a retrospective cohort approach. All four loci were associated with ovarian cancer risk in BRCA2 carriers; rs10088218 per-allele hazard ratio (HR) = 0.81 (95% CI: 0.67–0.98) P-trend = 0.033, rs2665390 HR = 1.48 (95% CI: 1.21–1.83) P-trend = 1.8 × 10−4, rs717852 HR = 1.25 (95% CI: 1.10–1.42) P-trend = 6.6 × 10−4, rs9303542 HR = 1.16 (95% CI: 1.02–1.33) P-trend = 0.026. Two loci were associated with ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 carriers; rs10088218 per-allele HR = 0.89 (95% CI: 0.81–0.99) P-trend = 0.029, rs2665390 HR = 1.25 (95% CI: 1.10–1.42) P-trend = 6.1 × 10−4. The HR estimates for the remaining loci were consistent with odds ratio estimates for the general population. The identification of multiple loci modifying ovarian cancer risk may be useful for counseling women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations regarding their risk of ovarian cancer.
ovarian cancer; BRCA1; BRCA2; association; SNP
Breast cancers demonstrate substantial biological, clinical and etiological heterogeneity. We investigated breast cancer risk associations of eight susceptibility loci identified in GWAS and two putative susceptibility loci in candidate genes in relation to specific breast tumor subtypes. Subtypes were defined by five markers (ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6, EGFR) and other pathological and clinical features. Analyses included up to 30 040 invasive breast cancer cases and 53 692 controls from 31 studies within the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We confirmed previous reports of stronger associations with ER+ than ER− tumors for six of the eight loci identified in GWAS: rs2981582 (10q26) (P-heterogeneity = 6.1 × 10−18), rs3803662 (16q12) (P = 3.7 × 10−5), rs13281615 (8q24) (P = 0.002), rs13387042 (2q35) (P = 0.006), rs4973768 (3p24) (P = 0.003) and rs6504950 (17q23) (P = 0.002). The two candidate loci, CASP8 (rs1045485, rs17468277) and TGFB1 (rs1982073), were most strongly related with the risk of PR negative tumors (P = 5.1 × 10−6 and P = 4.1 × 10−4, respectively), as previously suggested. Four of the eight loci identified in GWAS were associated with triple negative tumors (P ≤ 0.016): rs3803662 (16q12), rs889312 (5q11), rs3817198 (11p15) and rs13387042 (2q35); however, only two of them (16q12 and 2q35) were associated with tumors with the core basal phenotype (P ≤ 0.002). These analyses are consistent with different biological origins of breast cancers, and indicate that tumor stratification might help in the identification and characterization of novel risk factors for breast cancer subtypes. This may eventually result in further improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment.
Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 6q25.1, near the ESR1 gene, have been implicated in the susceptibility to breast cancer for Asian (rs2046210) and European women (rs9397435). A genome-wide association study in Europeans identified two further breast cancer susceptibility variants: rs11249433 at 1p11.2 and rs999737 in RAD51L1 at 14q24.1. Although previously identified breast cancer susceptibility variants have been shown to be associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, the involvement of these SNPs to breast cancer susceptibility in mutation carriers is currently unknown. To address this, we genotyped these SNPs in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers from 42 studies from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2. In the analysis of 14 123 BRCA1 and 8053 BRCA2 mutation carriers of European ancestry, the 6q25.1 SNPs (r2 = 0.14) were independently associated with the risk of breast cancer for BRCA1 mutation carriers [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11–1.23, P-trend = 4.5 × 10−9 for rs2046210; HR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.18–1.40, P-trend = 1.3 × 10−8 for rs9397435], but only rs9397435 was associated with the risk for BRCA2 carriers (HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.01–1.28, P-trend = 0.031). SNP rs11249433 (1p11.2) was associated with the risk of breast cancer for BRCA2 mutation carriers (HR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.02–1.17, P-trend = 0.015), but was not associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers (HR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.92–1.02, P-trend = 0.20). SNP rs999737 (RAD51L1) was not associated with breast cancer risk for either BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers (P-trend = 0.27 and 0.30, respectively). The identification of SNPs at 6q25.1 associated with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers will lead to a better understanding of the biology of tumour development in these women.
Recently, a locus on chromosome 6q22.33 (rs2180341) was reported to be associated with increased breast cancer risk in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, and this association was also observed in populations of non-AJ European ancestry. In the present study, we performed a large replication analysis of rs2180341 using data from 31,428 invasive breast cancer cases and 34,700 controls collected from 25 studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). In addition, we evaluated whether rs2180341 modifies breast cancer risk in 3,361 BRCA1 and 2,020 BRCA2 carriers from 11 centers in the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). Based on the BCAC data from women of European ancestry, we found evidence for a weak association with breast cancer risk for rs2180341 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.03, 95% CI 1.00–1.06, p = 0.023). There was evidence for heterogeneity in the ORs among studies (I2 = 49.3%; p = <0.004). In CIMBA, we observed an inverse association with the minor allele of rs2180341 and breast cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers (per-allele OR = 0.89, 95%CI 0.80–1.00, p = 0.048), indicating a potential protective effect of this allele. These data suggest that that 6q22.33 confers a weak effect on breast cancer risk.
The MUTYH gene is involved in base excision repair. MUTYH mutations predispose to recessively inherited colorectal polyposis and cancer. Here, we evaluate an association with breast cancer (BC), following up our previous finding of an elevated BC frequency among Dutch bi-allelic MUTYH mutation carriers. A case–control study was performed comparing 1,469 incident BC patients (ORIGO cohort), 471 individuals displaying features suggesting a genetic predisposition for BC, but without a detectable BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (BRCAx cohort), and 1,666 controls. First, for 303 consecutive patients diagnosed before age 55 years and/or with multiple primary breast tumors, the MUTYH coding region and flanking introns were sequenced. The remaining subjects were genotyped for five coding variants, p.Tyr179Cys, p.Arg309Cys, p.Gly396Asp, p.Pro405Leu, and p.Ser515Phe, and four tagging SNPs, c.37-2487G>T, p.Val22Met, c.504+35G>A, and p.Gln338His. No bi-allelic pathogenic MUTYH mutations were identified. The pathogenic variant p.Gly396Asp and the variant of uncertain significance p.Arg309Cys occurred twice as frequently in BRCAx subjects as compared to incident BC patients and controls (p = 0.13 and p = 0.15, respectively). The likely benign variant p.Val22Met occurred less frequently in patients from the incident BC (p = 0.03) and BRCAx groups (p = 0.11), respectively, as compared to the controls. Minor allele genotypes of several MUTYH variants showed trends towards association with lobular BC histology. This extensive case–control study could not confirm previously reported associations of MUTYH variants with BC, although it was too small to exclude subtle effects on BC susceptibility.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10549-012-1965-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
MUTYH; Breast cancer; BRCAx; Case–control study; Genotyping
SNPs rs2981582 and rs2981578, located in a linkage disequilibrium block (LD block) within intron 2 of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 gene (FGFR2), are associated with a mildly increased breast cancer risk. Allele-specific regulation of FGFR2 mRNA expression has been reported previously, but the molecular basis for the association of these variants with breast cancer has remained elusive to date.
mRNA levels of FGFR2 and three fibroblast growth factor genes (FGFs) were measured in primary fibroblast and epithelial cell cultures from 98 breast cancer patients and correlated to their rs2981578 genotype. The phosphorylation levels of downstream FGFR2 targets, FGF receptor substrate 2α (FRS2α) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), were quantified in skin fibroblasts exposed to FGF2. Immunohistochemical markers for angiogenesis and lymphocytic infiltrate were semiquantitatively assessed in 25 breast tumors.
The risk allele of rs2981578 was associated with increased FGFR2 mRNA levels in skin fibroblasts, but not in skin epithelial cell cultures. FGFR2 mRNA levels in skin fibroblasts and breast fibroblasts correlated strongly in the patients from whom both cultures were available. Tumor-derived fibroblasts expressed, on average, eight times more FGFR2 mRNA than the corresponding fibroblasts from normal breast tissue. Fibroblasts with higher FGFR2 mRNA expression showed more FRS2α and ERK1/2 phosphorylation after exposure to FGF2. In fibroblasts, higher FGFR2 expression correlated with higher FGF10 expression. In 25 breast tumors, no associations between breast tumor characteristics and fibroblast FGFR2 mRNA levels were found.
The influence of rs2981578 genotypes on FGFR2 mRNA expression levels is cell type-dependent. Expression differences correlated well with signaling levels of the FGFR2 pathway. Our results suggest that the increased breast cancer risk associated with SNP rs2981578 is due to increased FGFR2 signaling activity in stromal fibroblasts, possibly also involving paracrine FGF10 signaling.
The known breast cancer (BC) susceptibility polymorphisms in FGFR2, TNRC9/TOX3, MAP3K1,LSP1 and 2q35 confer increased risks of BC for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers. We evaluated the associations of three additional SNPs, rs4973768 in SLC4A7/NEK10, rs6504950 in STXBP4/COX11 and rs10941679 at 5p12 and reanalyzed the previous associations using additional carriers in a sample of 12,525 BRCA1 and 7,409 BRCA2 carriers. Additionally, we investigated potential interactions between SNPs and assessed the implications for risk prediction. The minor alleles of rs4973768 and rs10941679 were associated with increased BC risk for BRCA2 carriers (per-allele Hazard Ratio (HR)=1.10, 95%CI:1.03-1.18, p=0.006 and HR=1.09, 95%CI:1.01-1.19, p=0.03, respectively). Neither SNP was associated with BC risk for BRCA1 carriers and rs6504950 was not associated with BC for either BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers. Of the nine polymorphisms investigated, seven were associated with BC for BRCA2 carriers (FGFR2, TOX3, MAP3K1, LSP1, 2q35, SLC4A7, 5p12, p-values:7×10−11-0.03), but only TOX3 and 2q35 were associated with the risk for BRCA1 carriers (p=0.0049, 0.03 respectively). All risk associated polymorphisms appear to interact multiplicatively on BC risk for mutation carriers. Based on the joint genotype distribution of the seven risk associated SNPs in BRCA2 mutation carriers, the 5% of BRCA2 carriers at highest risk (i.e. between 95th and 100th percentiles) were predicted to have a probability between 80% and 96% of developing BC by age 80, compared with 42-50% for the 5% of carriers at lowest risk. Our findings indicated that these risk differences may be sufficient to influence the clinical management of mutation carriers.
BRCA1; BRCA2; genetic modifier; common variant; genome-wide association study; penetrance; genetic counseling
In this review, the national guidelines and recommendations for genetic testing for familial/hereditary breast cancer from the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany were evaluated as to the inclusion criteria for genetic testing. In all four countries, access to genetic testing relies basically on the family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Similarities are obvious for most selection criteria. All four guidelines recommend embedding genetic testing within a framework of genetic counselling, and all agree to perform genetic testing first in an affected person. However, there are differences regarding the thresholds based on certain familial constellations, detailed description of selection criteria, the degree of relatedness between affected individuals and the counsellee, the age of diagnosis, the individual history of early onset breast cancer, bilateral breast cancer, the tumour morphology or the access to intensified surveillance. These differences and open questions not covered by the guidelines, e.g. on how to deal with phenocopies, unclassified variants, genetic variants in newly identified breast cancer susceptibility genes or with family constellations not fitting the criteria, are discussed. New evidence is usually slowly integrated into the guidelines. An exchange process towards the harmonization of the guidelines will ensure high quality health care across Europe.
Hereditary breast cancer; BRCA1 and BRCA2; Genetic testing; Inclusion criteria; European comparison
Current attempts to identify genetic modifiers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 associated risk have focused on a candidate gene approach, based on knowledge of gene functions, or the development of large genome-wide association studies. In this study, we evaluated 24 SNPs tagged to 14 candidate genes derived through a novel approach that analysed gene expression differences to prioritise candidate modifier genes for association studies.
We successfully genotyped 24 SNPs in a cohort of up to 4,724 BRCA1 and 2,693 BRCA2 female mutation carriers from 15 study groups and assessed whether these variants were associated with risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
SNPs in five of the 14 candidate genes showed evidence of association with breast cancer risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers (P < 0.05). Notably, the minor alleles of two SNPs (rs7166081 and rs3825977) in high linkage disequilibrium (r2 = 0.77), located at the SMAD3 locus (15q22), were each associated with increased breast cancer risk for BRCA2 mutation carriers (relative risk = 1.25, 95% confidence interval = 1.07 to 1.45, Ptrend = 0.004; and relative risk = 1.20, 95% confidence interval = 1.03 to 1.40, Ptrend = 0.018).
This study provides evidence that the SMAD3 gene, which encodes a key regulatory protein in the transforming growth factor beta signalling pathway and is known to interact directly with BRCA2, may contribute to increased risk of breast cancer in BRCA2 mutation carriers. This finding suggests that genes with expression associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation status are enriched for the presence of common genetic modifiers of breast cancer risk in these populations.
Objective of this paper is to study how DNA-test result information was communicated and perceived within families. A retrospective descriptive study in 13 probands with a BRCA1/2 unclassified variant, 7 with a pathogenic mutation, 5 with an uninformative result, and in 44, 14, and 12 of their 1st and 2nd degree relatives respectively. We examined differences and correlations between: (a) information actually communicated (b) probands’ perception, (c) relatives’ perception. The perception consisted of recollections and interpretations of both their own and their relatives’ cancer-risks, and heredity-likelihood (i.e. likelihood that cancer is heritable in the family). Differences and low correlations suggested few similarities between the actually communicated information, the probands’ and the relatives’ perception. More specifically, probands recalled the communicated information differently compared with the actually communicated information (R = .40), and reinterpreted this information differently (R = .30). The relatives’ perception was best correlated with the proband’s interpretation (R = .08), but this perception differed significantly from their proband’s perception. Finally, relatives reinterpreted the information they received from their proband differently (R = .25), and this interpretation was only slightly related with the original message communicated by the genetic-counsellor (R = .15). Unclassified-variants were most frequently misinterpreted by probands and relatives, and had the largest differences between probands’ and relatives’ perceptions. Like in a children’s whisper-game, many errors occur in the transmission of DNA-test result information in families. More attention is required for how probands disseminate information to relatives. Genetic-counsellors may help by supporting the probands in communicating to relatives, e.g. by providing clear summary letters for relatives.
BRCA1/2; Oncology; Psychology; Genetic-counselling; Familytherapy; Risk-perception
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified seven breast cancer susceptibility loci, but these explain only a small fraction of the familial risk of the disease. Five of these loci were identified through a two-stage GWAS involving 390 familial cases and 364 controls in the first stage, and 3,990 cases and 3,916 controls in the second stage1. To identify additional loci, we tested over 800 promising associations from this GWAS in a further two stages involving 37,012 cases and 40,069 controls from 33 studies in the CGEMS collaboration and Breast Cancer Association Consortium. We found strong evidence for additional susceptibility loci on 3p (rs4973768: per-allele OR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.08–1.13, P = 4.1 × 10−23) and 17q (rs6504950: per-allele OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.92–0.97, P = 1.4 × 10−8). Potential causative genes include SLC4A7 and NEK10 on 3p and COX11 on 17q.
Assessment of the clinical significance of unclassified variants (UVs) identified in BRCA1 and BRCA2 is very important for genetic counselling. The analysis of co-segregation of the variant with the disease in families is a powerful tool for the classification of these variants. Statistical methods have been described in literature but these methods are not always easy to apply in a diagnostic setting.
We have developed an easy to use method which calculates the likelihood ratio (LR) of an UV being deleterious, with penetrance as a function of age of onset, thereby avoiding the use of liability classes. The application of this algorithm is publicly available http://www.msbi.nl/cosegregation. It can easily be used in a diagnostic setting since it requires only information on gender, genotype, present age and/or age of onset for breast and/or ovarian cancer.
We have used the algorithm to calculate the likelihood ratio in favour of causality for 3 UVs in BRCA1 (p.M18T, p.S1655F and p.R1699Q) and 5 in BRCA2 (p.E462G p.Y2660D, p.R2784Q, p.R3052W and p.R3052Q). Likelihood ratios varied from 0.097 (BRCA2, p.E462G) to 230.69 (BRCA2, p.Y2660D). Typing distantly related individuals with extreme phenotypes (i.e. very early onset cancer or old healthy individuals) are most informative and give the strongest likelihood ratios for or against causality.
Although co-segregation analysis on itself is in most cases insufficient to prove pathogenicity of an UV, this method simplifies the use of co-segregation as one of the key features in a multifactorial approach considerably.