Germline breast cancer susceptibility genes, tumor characteristics, and survival

Change log
Ho, Peh Joo 
Khng, Alexis J. 
Loh, Hui Wen 
Ho, Weang-Kee 
Yip, Cheng Har 

Abstract: Background: Mutations in certain genes are known to increase breast cancer risk. We study the relevance of rare protein-truncating variants (PTVs) that may result in loss-of-function in breast cancer susceptibility genes on tumor characteristics and survival in 8852 breast cancer patients of Asian descent. Methods: Gene panel sequencing was performed for 34 known or suspected breast cancer predisposition genes, of which nine genes (ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, BARD1, RAD51C, RAD51D, and TP53) were associated with breast cancer risk. Associations between PTV carriership in one or more genes and tumor characteristics were examined using multinomial logistic regression. Ten-year overall survival was estimated using Cox regression models in 6477 breast cancer patients after excluding older patients (≥75years) and stage 0 and IV disease. Results: PTV9genes carriership (n = 690) was significantly associated (p < 0.001) with more aggressive tumor characteristics including high grade (poorly vs well-differentiated, odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 3.48 [2.35–5.17], moderately vs well-differentiated 2.33 [1.56–3.49]), as well as luminal B [HER−] and triple-negative subtypes (vs luminal A 2.15 [1.58–2.92] and 2.85 [2.17–3.73], respectively), adjusted for age at diagnosis, study, and ethnicity. Associations with grade and luminal B [HER2−] subtype remained significant after excluding BRCA1/2 carriers. PTV25genes carriership (n = 289, excluding carriers of the nine genes associated with breast cancer) was not associated with tumor characteristics. However, PTV25genes carriership, but not PTV9genes carriership, was suggested to be associated with worse 10-year overall survival (hazard ratio [CI] 1.63 [1.16–2.28]). Conclusions: PTV9genes carriership is associated with more aggressive tumors. Variants in other genes might be associated with the survival of breast cancer patients. The finding that PTV carriership is not just associated with higher breast cancer risk, but also more severe and fatal forms of the disease, suggests that genetic testing has the potential to provide additional health information and help healthy individuals make screening decisions.

Research, Breast cancer, Protein-truncating variants, Overall survival
Journal Title
Genome Medicine
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
BioMed Central
National Medical Research Council (NMRC/CSA-SI/0015/2017, NMRC/CG/NCIS/2010, NMRC/CG/012/2013, CGAug16M005, CGAug16M012)
National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF-NRFF2017-02)