Publications by authors named "Alan Donaldson"

45 Publications

A prospective prostate cancer screening programme for men with pathogenic variants in mismatch repair genes (IMPACT): initial results from an international prospective study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 Oct 19. Epub 2021 Oct 19.

University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, UK; Wessex Clinical Genetics Service, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, UK.

Background: Lynch syndrome is a rare familial cancer syndrome caused by pathogenic variants in the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2, that cause predisposition to various cancers, predominantly colorectal and endometrial cancer. Data are emerging that pathogenic variants in mismatch repair genes increase the risk of early-onset aggressive prostate cancer. The IMPACT study is prospectively assessing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in men with germline mismatch repair pathogenic variants. Here, we report the usefulness of PSA screening, prostate cancer incidence, and tumour characteristics after the first screening round in men with and without these germline pathogenic variants.

Methods: The IMPACT study is an international, prospective study. Men aged 40-69 years without a previous prostate cancer diagnosis and with a known germline pathogenic variant in the MLH1, MSH2, or MSH6 gene, and age-matched male controls who tested negative for a familial pathogenic variant in these genes were recruited from 34 genetic and urology clinics in eight countries, and underwent a baseline PSA screening. Men who had a PSA level higher than 3·0 ng/mL were offered a transrectal, ultrasound-guided, prostate biopsy and a histopathological analysis was done. All participants are undergoing a minimum of 5 years' annual screening. The primary endpoint was to determine the incidence, stage, and pathology of screening-detected prostate cancer in carriers of pathogenic variants compared with non-carrier controls. We used Fisher's exact test to compare the number of cases, cancer incidence, and positive predictive values of the PSA cutoff and biopsy between carriers and non-carriers and the differences between disease types (ie, cancer vs no cancer, clinically significant cancer vs no cancer). We assessed screening outcomes and tumour characteristics by pathogenic variant status. Here we present results from the first round of PSA screening in the IMPACT study. This study is registered with, NCT00261456, and is now closed to accrual.

Findings: Between Sept 28, 2012, and March 1, 2020, 828 men were recruited (644 carriers of mismatch repair pathogenic variants [204 carriers of MLH1, 305 carriers of MSH2, and 135 carriers of MSH6] and 184 non-carrier controls [65 non-carriers of MLH1, 76 non-carriers of MSH2, and 43 non-carriers of MSH6]), and in order to boost the sample size for the non-carrier control groups, we randomly selected 134 non-carriers from the BRCA1 and BRCA2 cohort of the IMPACT study, who were included in all three non-carrier cohorts. Men were predominantly of European ancestry (899 [93%] of 953 with available data), with a mean age of 52·8 years (SD 8·3). Within the first screening round, 56 (6%) men had a PSA concentration of more than 3·0 ng/mL and 35 (4%) biopsies were done. The overall incidence of prostate cancer was 1·9% (18 of 962; 95% CI 1·1-2·9). The incidence among MSH2 carriers was 4·3% (13 of 305; 95% CI 2·3-7·2), MSH2 non-carrier controls was 0·5% (one of 210; 0·0-2·6), MSH6 carriers was 3·0% (four of 135; 0·8-7·4), and none were detected among the MLH1 carriers, MLH1 non-carrier controls, and MSH6 non-carrier controls. Prostate cancer incidence, using a PSA threshold of higher than 3·0 ng/mL, was higher in MSH2 carriers than in MSH2 non-carrier controls (4·3% vs 0·5%; p=0·011) and MSH6 carriers than MSH6 non-carrier controls (3·0% vs 0%; p=0·034). The overall positive predictive value of biopsy using a PSA threshold of 3·0 ng/mL was 51·4% (95% CI 34·0-68·6), and the overall positive predictive value of a PSA threshold of 3·0 ng/mL was 32·1% (20·3-46·0).

Interpretation: After the first screening round, carriers of MSH2 and MSH6 pathogenic variants had a higher incidence of prostate cancer compared with age-matched non-carrier controls. These findings support the use of targeted PSA screening in these men to identify those with clinically significant prostate cancer. Further annual screening rounds will need to confirm these findings.

Funding: Cancer Research UK, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research support to Biomedical Research Centres (The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust; Oxford; Manchester and the Cambridge Clinical Research Centre), Mr and Mrs Jack Baker, the Cancer Council of Tasmania, Cancer Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Cancer Council of Victoria, Cancer Council of South Australia, the Victorian Cancer Agency, Cancer Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC), the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), the Institut Català de la Salut, Autonomous Government of Catalonia, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute, Swedish Cancer Society, General Hospital in Malmö Foundation for Combating Cancer.
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October 2021

Breast and Prostate Cancer Risks for Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Pathogenic Variant Carriers Using Polygenic Risk Scores.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background: Recent population-based female breast cancer and prostate cancer polygenic risk scores (PRS) have been developed. We assessed the associations of these PRS with breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant carriers.

Methods: 483 BRCA1 and 1,318 BRCA2 European ancestry male carriers were available from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA). A 147-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) prostate cancer PRS (PRSPC) and a 313-SNP breast cancer PRS were evaluated. There were three versions of the breast cancer PRS, optimized to predict overall (PRSBC), estrogen-receptor (ER) negative (PRSER-) or ER-positive (PRSER+) breast cancer risk.

Results: PRSER+ yielded the strongest association with breast cancer risk. The odds ratios (ORs) per PRSER+ standard deviation estimates were 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.07-1.83) for BRCA1 and 1.33 (95% CI = 1.16-1.52) for BRCA2 carriers. PRSPC was associated with prostate cancer risk for both BRCA1 (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.28-2.33) and BRCA2 (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.34-1.91) carriers. The estimated breast cancer ORs were larger after adjusting for female relative breast cancer family history. By age 85 years, for BRCA2 carriers, the breast cancer risk varied from 7.7% to 18.4% and prostate cancer risk from 34.1% to 87.6% between the 5th and 95th percentiles of the PRS distributions.

Conclusions: Population-based prostate and female breast cancer PRS are associated with a wide range of absolute breast and prostate cancer risks for male BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers. These findings warrant further investigation aimed at providing personalized cancer risks for male carriers and to inform clinical management.
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July 2021

Phenotypic expansion of the BPTF-related neurodevelopmental disorder with dysmorphic facies and distal limb anomalies.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 05 31;185(5):1366-1378. Epub 2021 Jan 31.

Division of Medical Genetics, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

Neurodevelopmental disorder with dysmorphic facies and distal limb anomalies (NEDDFL), defined primarily by developmental delay/intellectual disability, speech delay, postnatal microcephaly, and dysmorphic features, is a syndrome resulting from heterozygous variants in the dosage-sensitive bromodomain PHD finger chromatin remodeler transcription factor BPTF gene. To date, only 11 individuals with NEDDFL due to de novo BPTF variants have been described. To expand the NEDDFL phenotypic spectrum, we describe the clinical features in 25 novel individuals with 20 distinct, clinically relevant variants in BPTF, including four individuals with inherited changes in BPTF. In addition to the previously described features, individuals in this cohort exhibited mild brain abnormalities, seizures, scoliosis, and a variety of ophthalmologic complications. These results further support the broad and multi-faceted complications due to haploinsufficiency of BPTF.
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May 2021

Oral contraceptive use and ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers: an international cohort study.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2021 07 22;225(1):51.e1-51.e17. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, Brno, Czech Republic.

Background: Ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers has been shown to decrease with longer duration of oral contraceptive use. Although the effects of using oral contraceptives in the general population are well established (approximately 50% risk reduction in ovarian cancer), the estimated risk reduction in mutation carriers is much less precise because of potential bias and small sample sizes. In addition, only a few studies on oral contraceptive use have examined the associations of duration of use, time since last use, starting age, and calendar year of start with risk of ovarian cancer.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate in more detail the associations of various characteristics of oral contraceptive use and risk of ovarian cancer, to provide healthcare providers and carriers with better risk estimates.

Study Design: In this international retrospective study, ovarian cancer risk associations were assessed using oral contraceptives data on 3989 BRCA1 and 2445 BRCA2 mutation carriers. Age-dependent-weighted Cox regression analyses were stratified by study and birth cohort and included breast cancer diagnosis as a covariate. To minimize survival bias, analyses were left truncated at 5 years before baseline questionnaire. Separate analyses were conducted for each aspect of oral contraceptive use and in a multivariate analysis, including all these aspects. In addition, the analysis of duration of oral contraceptive use was stratified by recency of use.

Results: Oral contraceptives were less often used by mutation carriers who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer (ever use: 58.6% for BRCA1 and 53.5% BRCA2) than by unaffected carriers (ever use: 88.9% for BRCA1 and 80.7% for BRCA2). The median duration of use was 7 years for both BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers who developed ovarian cancer and 9 and 8 years for unaffected BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers with ovarian cancer, respectively. For BRCA1 mutation carriers, univariate analyses have shown that both a longer duration of oral contraceptive use and more recent oral contraceptive use were associated with a reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer. However, in multivariate analyses, including duration of use, age at first use, and time since last use, duration of oral contraceptive use proved to be the prominent protective factor (compared with <5 years: 5-9 years [hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.40-1.12]; >10 years [hazard ratio, 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.73]; P=.008). The inverse association between duration of use and ovarian cancer risk persisted for more than 15 years (duration of ≥10 years; BRCA1 <15 years since last use [hazard ratio, 0.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.14-0.43]; BRCA1 >15 years since last use [hazard ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.18-0.59]). Univariate results for BRCA2 mutation carriers were similar but were inconclusive because of limited sample size.

Conclusion: For BRCA1 mutation carriers, longer duration of oral contraceptive use is associated with a greater reduction in ovarian cancer risk, and the protection is long term.
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July 2021

Prostate Cancer Risk by BRCA2 Genomic Regions.

Eur Urol 2020 10 10;78(4):494-497. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Medical Genetics, National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

A BRCA2 prostate cancer cluster region (PCCR) was recently proposed (c.7914 to 3') wherein pathogenic variants (PVs) are associated with higher prostate cancer (PCa) risk than PVs elsewhere in the BRCA2 gene. Using a prospective cohort study of 447 male BRCA2 PV carriers recruited in the UK and Ireland from 1998 to 2016, we estimated standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) compared with population incidences and assessed variation in risk by PV location. Carriers of PVs in the PCCR had a PCa SIR of 8.33 (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.46-15.6) and were at a higher risk of PCa than carriers of other BRCA2 PVs (SIR = 3.31, 95% CI 1.97-5.57; hazard ratio = 2.34, 95% CI 1.09-5.03). PCCR PV carriers had an estimated cumulative PCa risk of 44% (95% CI 23-72%) by the age of 75 yr and 78% (95% CI 54-94%) by the age of 85 yr. Our results corroborate the existence of a PCCR in BRCA2 in a prospective cohort. PATIENT SUMMARY: In this report, we investigated whether the risk of prostate cancer for men with a harmful mutation in the BRCA2 gene differs based on where in the gene the mutation is located. We found that men with mutations in one region of BRCA2 had a higher risk of prostate cancer than men with mutations elsewhere in the gene.
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October 2020

Association of Genomic Domains in and with Prostate Cancer Risk and Aggressiveness.

Cancer Res 2020 02 13;80(3):624-638. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Unité de Prévention et d'Epidémiologie Génétique, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.

Pathogenic sequence variants (PSV) in or () are associated with increased risk and severity of prostate cancer. We evaluated whether PSVs in were associated with risk of overall prostate cancer or high grade (Gleason 8+) prostate cancer using an international sample of 65 and 171 male PSV carriers with prostate cancer, and 3,388 and 2,880 male PSV carriers without prostate cancer. PSVs in the 3' region of (c.7914+) were significantly associated with elevated risk of prostate cancer compared with reference bin c.1001-c.7913 [HR = 1.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-2.52; = 0.001], as well as elevated risk of Gleason 8+ prostate cancer (HR = 3.11; 95% CI, 1.63-5.95; = 0.001). c.756-c.1000 was also associated with elevated prostate cancer risk (HR = 2.83; 95% CI, 1.71-4.68; = 0.00004) and elevated risk of Gleason 8+ prostate cancer (HR = 4.95; 95% CI, 2.12-11.54; = 0.0002). No genotype-phenotype associations were detected for PSVs in . These results demonstrate that specific PSVs may be associated with elevated risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: Aggressive prostate cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers may vary according to the specific BRCA2 mutation inherited by the at-risk individual.
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February 2020

Psychosocial effects of whole-body MRI screening in adult high-risk pathogenic mutation carriers: a case-controlled study (SIGNIFY).

J Med Genet 2020 04 12;57(4):226-236. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Background: Germline gene pathogenic variants (pv) cause a very high lifetime risk of developing cancer, almost 100% for women and 75% for men. In the UK, annual MRI breast screening is recommended for female pv carriers. The SIGNIFY study (Magnetic Resonance Imaging screening in Li Fraumeni syndrome: An exploratory whole body MRI) study reported outcomes of whole-body MRI (WB-MRI) in a cohort of 44 pv carriers and 44 matched population controls. The results supported the use of a baseline WB-MRI screen in all adult pv carriers. Here we report the acceptability of WB-MRI screening and effects on psychosocial functioning and health-related quality of life in the short and medium terms.

Methods: Psychosocial and other assessments were carried out at study enrolment, immediately before MRI, before and after MRI results, and at 12, 26 and 52 weeks' follow-up.

Results: WB-MRI was found to be acceptable with high levels of satisfaction and low levels of psychological morbidity throughout. Although their mean levels of cancer worry were not high, carriers had significantly more cancer worry at most time-points than controls. They also reported significantly more clinically significant intrusive and avoidant thoughts about cancer than controls at all time-points. There were no clinically significant adverse psychosocial outcomes in either carriers with a history of cancer or in those requiring further investigations.

Conclusion: WB-MRI screening can be implemented in pv carriers without adverse psychosocial outcomes in the short and medium terms. A previous cancer diagnosis may predict a better psychosocial outcome. Some carriers seriously underestimate their risk of cancer. Carriers of pv should have access to a clinician to help them develop adaptive strategies to cope with cancer-related concerns and respond to clinically significant depression and/or anxiety.
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April 2020

Interim Results from the IMPACT Study: Evidence for Prostate-specific Antigen Screening in BRCA2 Mutation Carriers.

Eur Urol 2019 12 16;76(6):831-842. Epub 2019 Sep 16.

International Hereditary Cancer Center, Department of Genetics and Pathology, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland.

Background: Mutations in BRCA2 cause a higher risk of early-onset aggressive prostate cancer (PrCa). The IMPACT study is evaluating targeted PrCa screening using prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) in men with germline BRCA1/2 mutations.

Objective: To report the utility of PSA screening, PrCa incidence, positive predictive value of PSA, biopsy, and tumour characteristics after 3 yr of screening, by BRCA status.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Men aged 40-69 yr with a germline pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutation and male controls testing negative for a familial BRCA1/2 mutation were recruited. Participants underwent PSA screening for 3 yr, and if PSA > 3.0 ng/ml, men were offered prostate biopsy.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: PSA levels, PrCa incidence, and tumour characteristics were evaluated. Statistical analyses included Poisson regression offset by person-year follow-up, chi-square tests for proportion t tests for means, and Kruskal-Wallis for medians.

Results And Limitations: A total of 3027 patients (2932 unique individuals) were recruited (919 BRCA1 carriers, 709 BRCA1 noncarriers, 902 BRCA2 carriers, and 497 BRCA2 noncarriers). After 3 yr of screening, 527 men had PSA > 3.0 ng/ml, 357 biopsies were performed, and 112 PrCa cases were diagnosed (31 BRCA1 carriers, 19 BRCA1 noncarriers, 47 BRCA2 carriers, and 15 BRCA2 noncarriers). Higher compliance with biopsy was observed in BRCA2 carriers compared with noncarriers (73% vs 60%). Cancer incidence rate per 1000 person years was higher in BRCA2 carriers than in noncarriers (19.4 vs 12.0; p =  0.03); BRCA2 carriers were diagnosed at a younger age (61 vs 64 yr; p =  0.04) and were more likely to have clinically significant disease than BRCA2 noncarriers (77% vs 40%; p =  0.01). No differences in age or tumour characteristics were detected between BRCA1 carriers and BRCA1 noncarriers. The 4 kallikrein marker model discriminated better (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.73) for clinically significant cancer at biopsy than PSA alone (AUC = 0.65).

Conclusions: After 3 yr of screening, compared with noncarriers, BRCA2 mutation carriers were associated with a higher incidence of PrCa, younger age of diagnosis, and clinically significant tumours. Therefore, systematic PSA screening is indicated for men with a BRCA2 mutation. Further follow-up is required to assess the role of screening in BRCA1 mutation carriers.

Patient Summary: We demonstrate that after 3 yr of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, we detect more serious prostate cancers in men with BRCA2 mutations than in those without these mutations. We recommend that male BRCA2 carriers are offered systematic PSA screening.
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December 2019

Prostate Cancer Risks for Male BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers: A Prospective Cohort Study.

Eur Urol 2020 01 6;77(1):24-35. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Oncogenetics Team, Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK; Cancer Genetics Unit, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Background: BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been associated with prostate cancer (PCa) risk but a wide range of risk estimates have been reported that are based on retrospective studies.

Objective: To estimate relative and absolute PCa risks associated with BRCA1/2 mutations and to assess risk modification by age, family history, and mutation location.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This was a prospective cohort study of male BRCA1 (n = 376) and BRCA2 carriers (n = 447) identified in clinical genetics centres in the UK and Ireland (median follow-up 5.9 and 5.3 yr, respectively).

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: Standardised incidence/mortality ratios (SIRs/SMRs) relative to population incidences or mortality rates, absolute risks, and hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using cohort and survival analysis methods.

Results And Limitations: Sixteen BRCA1 and 26 BRCA2 carriers were diagnosed with PCa during follow-up. BRCA2 carriers had an SIR of 4.45 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.99-6.61) and absolute PCa risk of 27% (95% CI 17-41%) and 60% (95% CI 43-78%) by ages 75 and 85 yr, respectively. For BRCA1 carriers, the overall SIR was 2.35 (95% CI 1.43-3.88); the corresponding SIR at age <65 yr was 3.57 (95% CI 1.68-7.58). However, the BRCA1 SIR varied between 0.74 and 2.83 in sensitivity analyses to assess potential screening effects. PCa risk for BRCA2 carriers increased with family history (HR per affected relative 1.68, 95% CI 0.99-2.85). BRCA2 mutations in the region bounded by positions c.2831 and c.6401 were associated with an SIR of 2.46 (95% CI 1.07-5.64) compared to population incidences, corresponding to lower PCa risk (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14-0.96) than for mutations outside the region. BRCA2 carriers had a stronger association with Gleason score ≥7 (SIR 5.07, 95% CI 3.20-8.02) than Gleason score ≤6 PCa (SIR 3.03, 95% CI 1.24-7.44), and a higher risk of death from PCa (SMR 3.85, 95% CI 1.44-10.3). Limitations include potential screening effects for these known mutation carriers; however, the BRCA2 results were robust to multiple sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: The results substantiate PCa risk patterns indicated by retrospective analyses for BRCA2 carriers, including further evidence of association with aggressive PCa, and give some support for a weaker association in BRCA1 carriers.

Patient Summary: In this study we followed unaffected men known to carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to investigate whether they are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer compared to the general population. We found that carriers of BRCA2 mutations have a high risk of developing prostate cancer, particularly more aggressive prostate cancer, and that this risk varies by family history of prostate cancer and the location of the mutation within the gene.
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January 2020

Height and Body Mass Index as Modifiers of Breast Cancer Risk in BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 04;111(4):350-364

Department of Medicine, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Background: BRCA1/2 mutations confer high lifetime risk of breast cancer, although other factors may modify this risk. Whether height or body mass index (BMI) modifies breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers remains unclear.

Methods: We used Mendelian randomization approaches to evaluate the association of height and BMI on breast cancer risk, using data from the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 with 14 676 BRCA1 and 7912 BRCA2 mutation carriers, including 11 451 cases of breast cancer. We created a height genetic score using 586 height-associated variants and a BMI genetic score using 93 BMI-associated variants. We examined both observed and genetically determined height and BMI with breast cancer risk using weighted Cox models. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Observed height was positively associated with breast cancer risk (HR = 1.09 per 10 cm increase, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0 to 1.17; P = 1.17). Height genetic score was positively associated with breast cancer, although this was not statistically significant (per 10 cm increase in genetically predicted height, HR = 1.04, 95% CI = 0.93 to 1.17; P = .47). Observed BMI was inversely associated with breast cancer risk (per 5 kg/m2 increase, HR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.90 to 0.98; P = .007). BMI genetic score was also inversely associated with breast cancer risk (per 5 kg/m2 increase in genetically predicted BMI, HR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.76 to 0.98; P = .02). BMI was primarily associated with premenopausal breast cancer.

Conclusion: Height is associated with overall breast cancer and BMI is associated with premenopausal breast cancer in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Incorporating height and BMI, particularly genetic score, into risk assessment may improve cancer management.
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April 2019

Risks of breast or ovarian cancer in BRCA1 or BRCA2 predictive test negatives: findings from the EMBRACE study.

Genet Med 2018 12 22;20(12):1575-1582. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Oncogenetics Team, The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Purpose: BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives are proven noncarriers of a BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation that is carried by their relatives. The risk of developing breast cancer (BC) or epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) in these women is uncertain. The study aimed to estimate risks of invasive BC and EOC in a large cohort of BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives.

Methods: We used cohort analysis to estimate incidences, cumulative risks, and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs).

Results: A total of 1,895 unaffected women were eligible for inclusion in the BC risk analysis and 1,736 in the EOC risk analysis. There were 23 incident invasive BCs and 2 EOCs. The cumulative risk of invasive BC was 9.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.9-15%) by age 85 years and the corresponding risk of EOC was 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-2.6%). The SIR for invasive BC was 0.93 (95% CI 0.62-1.40) in the overall cohort, 0.85 (95% CI 0.48-1.50) in noncarriers from BRCA1 families, and 1.03 (95% CI 0.57-1.87) in noncarriers from BRCA2 families. The SIR for EOC was 0.79 (95% CI 0.20-3.17) in the overall cohort.

Conclusion: Our results did not provide evidence for elevated risks of invasive BC or EOC in BRCA1/BRCA2 predictive test negatives.
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December 2018

Tumour risks and genotype-phenotype correlations associated with germline variants in succinate dehydrogenase subunit genes , and .

J Med Genet 2018 06 31;55(6):384-394. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

West Midlands Regional Genetics service, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

Background: Germline pathogenic variants in / are the most frequent causes of inherited phaeochromocytomas/paragangliomas. Insufficient information regarding penetrance and phenotypic variability hinders optimum management of mutation carriers. We estimate penetrance for symptomatic tumours and elucidate genotype-phenotype correlations in a large cohort of / mutation carriers.

Methods: A retrospective survey of 1832 individuals referred for genetic testing due to a personal or family history of phaeochromocytoma/paraganglioma. 876 patients (401 previously reported) had a germline mutation in / (n=673/43/160). Tumour risks were correlated with in silico structural prediction analyses.

Results: Tumour risks analysis provided novel penetrance estimates and genotype-phenotype correlations. In addition to tumour type susceptibility differences for individual genes, we confirmed that the p.Pro81Leu mutation has a distinct phenotype and identified increased age-related tumour risks with highly destabilising missense mutations. By Kaplan-Meier analysis, the penetrance (cumulative risk of clinically apparent tumours) in and (paternally inherited) mutation-positive non-probands (n=371/67 with detailed clinical information) by age 60 years was 21.8% (95% CI 15.2% to 27.9%) and 43.2% (95% CI 25.4% to 56.7%), respectively. Risk of malignant disease at age 60 years in non-proband mutation carriers was 4.2%(95% CI 1.1% to 7.2%). With retrospective cohort analysis to adjust for ascertainment, cumulative tumour risks for mutation carriers at ages 60 years and 80 years were 23.9% (95% CI 20.9% to 27.4%) and 30.6% (95% CI 26.8% to 34.7%).

Conclusions: Overall risks of clinically apparent tumours for mutation carriers are substantially lower than initially estimated and will improve counselling of affected families. Specific genotype-tumour risk associations provides a basis for novel investigative strategies into succinate dehydrogenase-related mechanisms of tumourigenesis and the development of personalised management for / mutation carriers.
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June 2018

Prostate-specific antigen velocity in a prospective prostate cancer screening study of men with genetic predisposition.

Br J Cancer 2018 01 4;118(2):266-276. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam 3015 CE, The Netherlands.

Background: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA-velocity (PSAV) have been used to identify men at risk of prostate cancer (PrCa). The IMPACT study is evaluating PSA screening in men with a known genetic predisposition to PrCa due to BRCA1/2 mutations. This analysis evaluates the utility of PSA and PSAV for identifying PrCa and high-grade disease in this cohort.

Methods: PSAV was calculated using logistic regression to determine if PSA or PSAV predicted the result of prostate biopsy (PB) in men with elevated PSA values. Cox regression was used to determine whether PSA or PSAV predicted PSA elevation in men with low PSAs. Interaction terms were included in the models to determine whether BRCA status influenced the predictiveness of PSA or PSAV.

Results: 1634 participants had ⩾3 PSA readings of whom 174 underwent PB and 45 PrCas diagnosed. In men with PSA >3.0 ng ml, PSAV was not significantly associated with presence of cancer or high-grade disease. PSAV did not add to PSA for predicting time to an elevated PSA. When comparing BRCA1/2 carriers to non-carriers, we found a significant interaction between BRCA status and last PSA before biopsy (P=0.031) and BRCA2 status and PSAV (P=0.024). However, PSAV was not predictive of biopsy outcome in BRCA2 carriers.

Conclusions: PSA is more strongly predictive of PrCa in BRCA carriers than non-carriers. We did not find evidence that PSAV aids decision-making for BRCA carriers over absolute PSA value alone.
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January 2018

High Rate of Recurrent De Novo Mutations in Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Nov;101(5):664-685

Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.

Developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) is a group of conditions characterized by the co-occurrence of epilepsy and intellectual disability (ID), typically with developmental plateauing or regression associated with frequent epileptiform activity. The cause of DEE remains unknown in the majority of cases. We performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in 197 individuals with unexplained DEE and pharmaco-resistant seizures and in their unaffected parents. We focused our attention on de novo mutations (DNMs) and identified candidate genes containing such variants. We sought to identify additional subjects with DNMs in these genes by performing targeted sequencing in another series of individuals with DEE and by mining various sequencing datasets. We also performed meta-analyses to document enrichment of DNMs in candidate genes by leveraging our WGS dataset with those of several DEE and ID series. By combining these strategies, we were able to provide a causal link between DEE and the following genes: NTRK2, GABRB2, CLTC, DHDDS, NUS1, RAB11A, GABBR2, and SNAP25. Overall, we established a molecular diagnosis in 63/197 (32%) individuals in our WGS series. The main cause of DEE in these individuals was de novo point mutations (53/63 solved cases), followed by inherited mutations (6/63 solved cases) and de novo CNVs (4/63 solved cases). De novo missense variants explained a larger proportion of individuals in our series than in other series that were primarily ascertained because of ID. Moreover, these DNMs were more frequently recurrent than those identified in ID series. These observations indicate that the genetic landscape of DEE might be different from that of ID without epilepsy.
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November 2017

Haploinsufficiency for ANKRD11-flanking genes makes the difference between KBG and 16q24.3 microdeletion syndromes: 12 new cases.

Eur J Hum Genet 2017 06 19;25(6):694-701. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

16q24 deletion involving the ANKRD11 gene, ranging from 137 kb to 2 Mb, have been associated with a microdeletion syndrome characterized by variable cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorder, facial dysmorphisms with dental anomalies, brain abnormalities essentially affecting the corpus callosum and short stature. On the other hand, patients carrying either deletions encompassing solely ANKRD11 or its loss-of-function variants were reported in association with the KBG syndrome, characterized by a very similar phenotype, including mild-to-moderate intellectual disability, short stature and macrodontia of upper incisors, with inter and intrafamilial variability. To assess whether the haploinsufficiency of ANKRD11-flanking genes, such as ZFPM1, CDH15 and ZNF778, contributed to either the severity of the neurological impairment or was associated with other clinical features, we collected 12 new cases with a 16q24.2q24.3 deletion (de novo in 11 cases), ranging from 343 kb to 2.3 Mb. In 11 of them, the deletion involved the ANKRD11 gene, whereas in 1 case only flanking genes upstream to it were deleted. By comparing the clinical and genetic features of our patients with those previously reported, we show that the severity of the neurological phenotype and the frequency of congenital heart defects characterize the deletions that, besides ANKRD11, contain ZFPM1, CDH15 and ZNF778 as well. Moreover, the presence of thrombocytopenia and astigmatism should be taken into account to distinguish between 16q24 microdeletion syndrome and KBG syndrome. The single patient not deleted for ANKRD11, whose phenotype is characterized by milder psychomotor delay, cardiac congenital malformation, thrombocytopenia and astigmatism, confirms all this data.
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June 2017

Heterozygous truncation mutations of the SMC1A gene cause a severe early onset epilepsy with cluster seizures in females: Detailed phenotyping of 10 new cases.

Epilepsia 2017 04 6;58(4):565-575. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

The Paediatric Neurosciences Research Group, Royal Hospital for Children, Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Objective: The phenotype of seizure clustering with febrile illnesses in infancy/early childhood is well recognized. To date the only genetic epilepsy consistently associated with this phenotype is PCDH19, an X-linked disorder restricted to females, and males with mosaicism. The SMC1A gene, which encodes a structural component of the cohesin complex is also located on the X chromosome. Missense variants and small in-frame deletions of SMC1A cause approximately 5% of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). Recently, protein truncating mutations in SMC1A have been reported in five females, all of whom have been affected by a drug-resistant epilepsy, and severe developmental impairment. Our objective was to further delineate the phenotype of SMC1A truncation.

Method: Female cases with de novo truncation mutations in SMC1A were identified from the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) study (n = 8), from postmortem testing of an affected twin (n = 1), and from clinical testing with an epilepsy gene panel (n = 1). Detailed information on the phenotype in each case was obtained.

Results: Ten cases with heterozygous de novo mutations in the SMC1A gene are presented. All 10 mutations identified are predicted to result in premature truncation of the SMC1A protein. All cases are female, and none had a clinical diagnosis of CdLS. They presented with onset of epileptic seizures between <4 weeks and 28 months of age. In the majority of cases, a marked preponderance for seizures to occur in clusters was noted. Seizure clusters were associated with developmental regression. Moderate or severe developmental impairment was apparent in all cases.

Significance: Truncation mutations in SMC1A cause a severe epilepsy phenotype with cluster seizures in females. These mutations are likely to be nonviable in males.
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April 2017

Clinical and genetic aspects of KBG syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2016 11 26;170(11):2835-2846. Epub 2016 Sep 26.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

KBG syndrome is characterized by short stature, distinctive facial features, and developmental/cognitive delay and is caused by mutations in ANKRD11, one of the ankyrin repeat-containing cofactors. We describe 32 KBG patients aged 2-47 years from 27 families ascertained via two pathways: targeted ANKRD11 sequencing (TS) in a group who had a clinical diagnosis of KBG and whole exome sequencing (ES) in a second group in whom the diagnosis was unknown. Speech delay and learning difficulties were almost universal and variable behavioral problems frequent. Macrodontia of permanent upper central incisors was seen in 85%. Other clinical features included short stature, conductive hearing loss, recurrent middle ear infection, palatal abnormalities, and feeding difficulties. We recognized a new feature of a wide anterior fontanelle with delayed closure in 22%. The subtle facial features of KBG syndrome were recognizable in half the patients. We identified 20 ANKRD11 mutations (18 novel: all truncating) confirmed by Sanger sequencing in 32 patients. Comparison of the two ascertainment groups demonstrated that facial/other typical features were more subtle in the ES group. There were no conclusive phenotype-genotype correlations. Our findings suggest that mutation of ANKRD11 is a common Mendelian cause of developmental delay. Affected patients may not show the characteristic KBG phenotype and the diagnosis is therefore easily missed. We propose updated diagnostic criteria/clinical recommendations for KBG syndrome and suggest that inclusion of ANKRD11 will increase the utility of gene panels designed to investigate developmental delay. © 2016 The Authors. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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November 2016

An original phylogenetic approach identified mitochondrial haplogroup T1a1 as inversely associated with breast cancer risk in BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Breast Cancer Res 2015 Apr 25;17:61. Epub 2015 Apr 25.

Holy Cross Hospital, Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.

Introduction: Individuals carrying pathogenic mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a high lifetime risk of breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved in DNA double-strand break repair, DNA alterations that can be caused by exposure to reactive oxygen species, a main source of which are mitochondria. Mitochondrial genome variations affect electron transport chain efficiency and reactive oxygen species production. Individuals with different mitochondrial haplogroups differ in their metabolism and sensitivity to oxidative stress. Variability in mitochondrial genetic background can alter reactive oxygen species production, leading to cancer risk. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that mitochondrial haplogroups modify breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers.

Methods: We genotyped 22,214 (11,421 affected, 10,793 unaffected) mutation carriers belonging to the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 for 129 mitochondrial polymorphisms using the iCOGS array. Haplogroup inference and association detection were performed using a phylogenetic approach. ALTree was applied to explore the reference mitochondrial evolutionary tree and detect subclades enriched in affected or unaffected individuals.

Results: We discovered that subclade T1a1 was depleted in affected BRCA2 mutation carriers compared with the rest of clade T (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.34 to 0.88; P = 0.01). Compared with the most frequent haplogroup in the general population (that is, H and T clades), the T1a1 haplogroup has a HR of 0.62 (95% CI, 0.40 to 0.95; P = 0.03). We also identified three potential susceptibility loci, including G13708A/rs28359178, which has demonstrated an inverse association with familial breast cancer risk.

Conclusions: This study illustrates how original approaches such as the phylogeny-based method we used can empower classical molecular epidemiological studies aimed at identifying association or risk modification effects.
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April 2015

Germline Mutations in the CDKN2B Tumor Suppressor Gene Predispose to Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Cancer Discov 2015 Jul 14;5(7):723-9. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Medical and Molecular Genetics, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Unlabelled: Familial renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is genetically heterogeneous and may be caused by mutations in multiple genes, including VHL, MET, SDHB, FH, FLCN, PTEN, and BAP1. However, most individuals with inherited RCC do not have a detectable germline mutation. To identify novel inherited RCC genes, we undertook exome resequencing studies in a familial RCC kindred and identified a CDKN2B nonsense mutation that segregated with familial RCC status. Targeted resequencing of CDKN2B in individuals (n = 82) with features of inherited RCC then revealed three candidate CDKN2B missense mutations (p.Pro40Thr, p.Ala23Glu, and p.Asp86Asn). In silico analysis of the three-dimensional structures indicated that each missense substitution was likely pathogenic through reduced stability of the mutant or reduced affinity for cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6, and in vitro studies demonstrated that each of the mutations impaired CDKN2B-induced suppression of proliferation in an RCC cell line. These findings identify germline CDKN2B mutations as a novel cause of familial RCC.

Significance: Germline loss-of-function CDKN2B mutations were identified in a subset of patients with features of inherited RCC. Detection of germline CDKN2B mutations will have an impact on familial cancer screening and might prove to influence the management of disseminated disease.
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July 2015

Association of type and location of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations with risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

JAMA 2015 Apr;313(13):1347-61

Department of Medicine and Genetics, University of California, San Francisco.

Importance: Limited information about the relationship between specific mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) and cancer risk exists.

Objective: To identify mutation-specific cancer risks for carriers of BRCA1/2.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Observational study of women who were ascertained between 1937 and 2011 (median, 1999) and found to carry disease-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The international sample comprised 19,581 carriers of BRCA1 mutations and 11,900 carriers of BRCA2 mutations from 55 centers in 33 countries on 6 continents. We estimated hazard ratios for breast and ovarian cancer based on mutation type, function, and nucleotide position. We also estimated RHR, the ratio of breast vs ovarian cancer hazard ratios. A value of RHR greater than 1 indicated elevated breast cancer risk; a value of RHR less than 1 indicated elevated ovarian cancer risk.

Exposures: Mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Breast and ovarian cancer risks.

Results: Among BRCA1 mutation carriers, 9052 women (46%) were diagnosed with breast cancer, 2317 (12%) with ovarian cancer, 1041 (5%) with breast and ovarian cancer, and 7171 (37%) without cancer. Among BRCA2 mutation carriers, 6180 women (52%) were diagnosed with breast cancer, 682 (6%) with ovarian cancer, 272 (2%) with breast and ovarian cancer, and 4766 (40%) without cancer. In BRCA1, we identified 3 breast cancer cluster regions (BCCRs) located at c.179 to c.505 (BCCR1; RHR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.22-1.74; P = 2 × 10(-6)), c.4328 to c.4945 (BCCR2; RHR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.01-1.78; P = .04), and c. 5261 to c.5563 (BCCR2', RHR = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.22-1.55; P = 6 × 10(-9)). We also identified an ovarian cancer cluster region (OCCR) from c.1380 to c.4062 (approximately exon 11) with RHR = 0.62 (95% CI, 0.56-0.70; P = 9 × 10(-17)). In BRCA2, we observed multiple BCCRs spanning c.1 to c.596 (BCCR1; RHR = 1.71; 95% CI, 1.06-2.78; P = .03), c.772 to c.1806 (BCCR1'; RHR = 1.63; 95% CI, 1.10-2.40; P = .01), and c.7394 to c.8904 (BCCR2; RHR = 2.31; 95% CI, 1.69-3.16; P = .00002). We also identified 3 OCCRs: the first (OCCR1) spanned c.3249 to c.5681 that was adjacent to c.5946delT (6174delT; RHR = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.44-0.60; P = 6 × 10(-17)). The second OCCR spanned c.6645 to c.7471 (OCCR2; RHR = 0.57; 95% CI, 0.41-0.80; P = .001). Mutations conferring nonsense-mediated decay were associated with differential breast or ovarian cancer risks and an earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis for both BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Conclusions And Relevance: Breast and ovarian cancer risks varied by type and location of BRCA1/2 mutations. With appropriate validation, these data may have implications for risk assessment and cancer prevention decision making for carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
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April 2015

The Angelina Jolie effect: how high celebrity profile can have a major impact on provision of cancer related services.

Breast Cancer Res 2014 Sep 19;16(5):442. Epub 2014 Sep 19.

Introduction: It is frequent for news items to lead to a short lived temporary increase in interest in a particular health related service, however it is rare for this to have a long lasting effect. In 2013, in the UK in particular, there has been unprecedented publicity in hereditary breast cancer, with Angelina Jolie's decision to have genetic testing for the BRCA1 gene and subsequently undergo risk reducing mastectomy (RRM), and a pre-release of the NICE guidelines on familial breast cancer in January and their final release on 26th June. The release of NICE guidelines created a lot of publicity over the potential for use of chemoprevention using tamoxifen or raloxifene. However, the longest lasting news story was the release of details of film actress Angelina Jolie's genetic test and surgery.

Methods: To assess the potential effects of the 'Angelina Jolie' effect, referral data specific to breast cancer family history was obtained from around the UK for the years 2012 and 2013. A consortium of over 30 breast cancer family history clinics that have contributed to two research studies on early breast surveillance were asked to participate as well as 10 genetics centres. Monthly referrals to each service were collated and increases from 2012 to 2013 assessed.

Results: Data from 12 family history clinics and 9 regional genetics services showed a rise in referrals from May 2013 onwards. Referrals were nearly 2.5 fold in June and July 2013 from 1,981 (2012) to 4,847 (2013) and remained at around two-fold to October 2013. Demand for BRCA1/2 testing almost doubled and there were also many more enquiries for risk reducing mastectomy. Internal review shows that there was no increase in inappropriate referrals.

Conclusions: The Angelina Jolie effect has been long lasting and global, and appears to have increased referrals to centres appropriately.
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September 2014

Effect of BRCA Mutations on Metastatic Relapse and Cause-specific Survival After Radical Treatment for Localised Prostate Cancer.

Eur Urol 2015 Aug 6;68(2):186-93. Epub 2014 Nov 6.

Oncogenetics Team, The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton, UK.

Background: Germline BRCA mutations are associated with worse prostate cancer (PCa) outcomes; however, the most appropriate management for mutation carriers has not yet been investigated.

Objective: To evaluate the response of BRCA carriers to conventional treatments for localised PCa by analysing metastasis-free survival (MFS) and cause-specific survival (CSS) following radical prostatectomy (RP) or external-beam radiation therapy (RT).

Design, Setting, And Participants: Tumour features and outcomes of 1302 patients with local/locally advanced PCa (including 67 BRCA mutation carriers) were analysed. RP was undergone by 535 patients (35 BRCA); 767 received RT (32 BRCA). Median follow-up was 64 mo.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: Median survival and 3-, 5-, and 10-yr survival rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Generated survival curves were compared using the log-rank test. Cox regression analyses were used to assess the prognostic value of BRCA mutations.

Results And Limitations: A total of 67 BRCA carriers and 1235 noncarriers were included. At 3, 5, and 10 yr after treatment, 97%, 94%, and 84% of noncarriers and 90%, 72%, and 50% of carriers were free from metastasis (p<0.001). The 3-, 5- and 10-yr CSS rates were significantly better in the noncarrier cohort (99%, 97%, and 85%, respectively) than in carriers (96%, 76%, and 61%, respectively; p<0.001). Multivariate analysis confirmed BRCA mutations as an independent prognostic factor for MFS (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38-4.03; p=0.002) and CSS (HR: 2.17; 95% CI, 1.16-4.07; p=0.016).

Conclusions: BRCA carriers had worse outcomes than noncarriers when conventionally treated for local/locally advanced PCa.

Patient Summary: Prostate cancer patients with germline BRCA mutations had worse outcomes than noncarriers when conventionally treated with surgery or radiation therapy.
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August 2015

Candidate genetic modifiers for breast and ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2015 Jan 21;24(1):308-16. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers are at substantially increased risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. The incomplete penetrance coupled with the variable age at diagnosis in carriers of the same mutation suggests the existence of genetic and nongenetic modifying factors. In this study, we evaluated the putative role of variants in many candidate modifier genes.

Methods: Genotyping data from 15,252 BRCA1 and 8,211 BRCA2 mutation carriers, for known variants (n = 3,248) located within or around 445 candidate genes, were available through the iCOGS custom-designed array. Breast and ovarian cancer association analysis was performed within a retrospective cohort approach.

Results: The observed P values of association ranged between 0.005 and 1.000. None of the variants was significantly associated with breast or ovarian cancer risk in either BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers, after multiple testing adjustments.

Conclusion: There is little evidence that any of the evaluated candidate variants act as modifiers of breast and/or ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Impact: Genome-wide association studies have been more successful at identifying genetic modifiers of BRCA1/2 penetrance than candidate gene studies.
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January 2015

DNA glycosylases involved in base excision repair may be associated with cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

PLoS Genet 2014 04 3;10(4):e1004256. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

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.
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April 2014

Lymphocyte telomere length is long in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers regardless of cancer-affected status.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014 Jun 18;23(6):1018-24. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Authors' Affiliations: Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care; Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Oncology, Strangeways Research Laboratory, University of Cambridge; Department of Epigenetics, Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus; Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge; South East Thames Regional Genetics Service, Guy's Hospital; North East Thames Regional Genetics Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust; Clinical Genetics Department, St. Georges Hospital, University of London, London; Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service, Leeds; Leicestershire Clinical Genetics Service, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust; Department of Clinical Genetics, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter; West Midlands Regional Genetics Service, Birmingham Women's Hospital Healthcare NHS Trust, Edgbaston, Birmingham;Sheffield Clinical Genetics Service, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield; Ferguson-Smith Centre for Clinical Genetics, Yorkhill Hospitals, Glasgow; South West Regional Genetics Service, Bristol; North West Thames Regional Genetics Service, Kennedy-Galton Centre, Harrow; Institute of Human Genetics, Centre for Life, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne; Nottingham Clinical Genetics Service, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Cheshire & Merseyside Clinical Genetics Service, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool; All Wales Medical Genetics Service, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl; North of Scotland Regional Genetics Service, NHS Grampian & University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen; All Wales Medical Genetics Services, Singleton Hospital, Swansea; South East of Scotland Regional Genetics Service, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh; All Wales Medical Genetics Services, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff; Oxford Regional Genetics Service, Churchill Hospital, Oxford; Wessex Clinical Genetics Service, Princess A

Background: Telomere length has been linked to risk of common diseases, including cancer, and has previously been proposed as a biomarker for cancer risk. Germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations predispose to breast, ovarian, and other cancer types.

Methods: We investigated telomere length in BRCA mutation carriers and their non-carrier relatives and further examined whether telomere length is a modifier of cancer risk in mutation carriers. We measured mean telomere length in DNA extracted from whole blood using high-throughput quantitative PCR. Participants were from the EMBRACE study in United Kingdom and Eire (n = 4,822) and comprised BRCA1 (n = 1,628) and BRCA2 (n = 1,506) mutation carriers and their non-carrier relatives (n = 1,688).

Results: We find no significant evidence that mean telomere length is associated with breast or ovarian cancer risk in BRCA mutation carriers. However, we find mutation carriers to have longer mean telomere length than their non-carrier relatives (all carriers vs. non-carriers, Ptrend = 0.0018), particularly in families with BRCA2 mutations (BRCA2 mutation carriers vs. all non-carriers, Ptrend = 0.0016).

Conclusions: Our findings lend little support to the hypothesis that short mean telomere length predisposes to cancer. Conversely, our main and unexpected finding is that BRCA mutation carriers (regardless of cancer status) have longer telomeres than their non-mutation carrier, non-cancer-affected relatives. The longer telomere length in BRCA2 mutation carriers is consistent with its role in DNA damage response. Overall, it seems that increased telomere length may be a consequence of these mutations, but is not itself directly related to the increased cancer risk in carriers.

Impact: The finding that mutation carriers have longer mean telomere lengths than their non-carrier relatives is unexpected but biologically plausible and could open up new lines of research into the functions of the BRCA proteins. To our knowledge, this is the largest study of telomere length in BRCA mutation carriers and their relatives. The null cancer-risk association supports recent large prospective studies of breast and ovarian cancer and indicates that mean telomere length would not be a useful biomarker in these cancers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 23(6); 1018-24. ©2014 AACR.
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June 2014

Targeted prostate cancer screening in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers: results from the initial screening round of the IMPACT study.

Eur Urol 2014 Sep 15;66(3):489-99. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: Men with germline breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA1) or breast cancer 2, early onset (BRCA2) gene mutations have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer (PCa) than noncarriers. IMPACT (Identification of Men with a genetic predisposition to ProstAte Cancer: Targeted screening in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and controls) is an international consortium of 62 centres in 20 countries evaluating the use of targeted PCa screening in men with BRCA1/2 mutations.

Objective: To report the first year's screening results for all men at enrollment in the study.

Design, Setting And Participants: We recruited men aged 40-69 yr with germline BRCA1/2 mutations and a control group of men who have tested negative for a pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation known to be present in their families. All men underwent prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing at enrollment, and those men with PSA >3 ng/ml were offered prostate biopsy.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: PSA levels, PCa incidence, and tumour characteristics were evaluated. The Fisher exact test was used to compare the number of PCa cases among groups and the differences among disease types.

Results And Limitations: We recruited 2481 men (791 BRCA1 carriers, 531 BRCA1 controls; 731 BRCA2 carriers, 428 BRCA2 controls). A total of 199 men (8%) presented with PSA >3.0 ng/ml, 162 biopsies were performed, and 59 PCas were diagnosed (18 BRCA1 carriers, 10 BRCA1 controls; 24 BRCA2 carriers, 7 BRCA2 controls); 66% of the tumours were classified as intermediate- or high-risk disease. The positive predictive value (PPV) for biopsy using a PSA threshold of 3.0 ng/ml in BRCA2 mutation carriers was 48%-double the PPV reported in population screening studies. A significant difference in detecting intermediate- or high-risk disease was observed in BRCA2 carriers. Ninety-five percent of the men were white, thus the results cannot be generalised to all ethnic groups.

Conclusions: The IMPACT screening network will be useful for targeted PCa screening studies in men with germline genetic risk variants as they are discovered. These preliminary results support the use of targeted PSA screening based on BRCA genotype and show that this screening yields a high proportion of aggressive disease.

Patient Summary: In this report, we demonstrate that germline genetic markers can be used to identify men at higher risk of prostate cancer. Targeting screening at these men resulted in the identification of tumours that were more likely to require treatment.
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September 2014

Associations of common breast cancer susceptibility alleles with risk of breast cancer subtypes in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Breast Cancer Res 2014 Dec 31;16(6):3416. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Introduction: More than 70 common alleles are known to be involved in breast cancer (BC) susceptibility, and several exhibit significant heterogeneity in their associations with different BC subtypes. Although there are differences in the association patterns between BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and the general population for several loci, no study has comprehensively evaluated the associations of all known BC susceptibility alleles with risk of BC subtypes in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers.

Methods: We used data from 15,252 BRCA1 and 8,211 BRCA2 carriers to analyze the associations between approximately 200,000 genetic variants on the iCOGS array and risk of BC subtypes defined by estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and triple-negative- (TN) status; morphologic subtypes; histological grade; and nodal involvement.

Results: The estimated BC hazard ratios (HRs) for the 74 known BC alleles in BRCA1 carriers exhibited moderate correlations with the corresponding odds ratios from the general population. However, their associations with ER-positive BC in BRCA1 carriers were more consistent with the ER-positive associations in the general population (intraclass correlation (ICC) = 0.61, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.45 to 0.74), and the same was true when considering ER-negative associations in both groups (ICC = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.42 to 0.72). Similarly, there was strong correlation between the ER-positive associations for BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers (ICC = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.52 to 0.78), whereas ER-positive associations in any one of the groups were generally inconsistent with ER-negative associations in any of the others. After stratifying by ER status in mutation carriers, additional significant associations were observed. Several previously unreported variants exhibited associations at P <10(-6) in the analyses by PR status, HER2 status, TN phenotype, morphologic subtypes, histological grade and nodal involvement.

Conclusions: Differences in associations of common BC susceptibility alleles between BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers and the general population are explained to a large extent by differences in the prevalence of ER-positive and ER-negative tumors. Estimates of the risks associated with these variants based on population-based studies are likely to be applicable to mutation carriers after taking ER status into account, which has implications for risk prediction.
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December 2014

Cancer risks for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers: results from prospective analysis of EMBRACE.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2013 Jun 29;105(11):812-22. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Manchester, UK.

Background: Reliable estimates of cancer risk are critical for guiding management of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. The aims of this study were to derive penetrance estimates for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and contralateral breast cancer in a prospective series of mutation carriers and to assess how these risks are modified by common breast cancer susceptibility alleles.

Methods: Prospective cancer risks were estimated using a cohort of 978 BRCA1 and 909 BRCA2 carriers from the United Kingdom. Nine hundred eighty-eight women had no breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis at baseline, 1509 women were unaffected by ovarian cancer, and 651 had been diagnosed with unilateral breast cancer. Cumulative risks were obtained using Kaplan-Meier estimates. Associations between cancer risk and covariables of interest were evaluated using Cox regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: The average cumulative risks by age 70 years for BRCA1 carriers were estimated to be 60% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 44% to 75%) for breast cancer, 59% (95% CI = 43% to 76%) for ovarian cancer, and 83% (95% CI = 69% to 94%) for contralateral breast cancer. For BRCA2 carriers, the corresponding risks were 55% (95% CI = 41% to 70%) for breast cancer, 16.5% (95% CI = 7.5% to 34%) for ovarian cancer, and 62% (95% CI = 44% to 79.5%) for contralateral breast cancer. BRCA2 carriers in the highest tertile of risk, defined by the joint genotype distribution of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with breast cancer risk, were at statistically significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those in the lowest tertile (hazard ratio = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.2 to 14.5; P = .02).

Conclusions: Prospective risk estimates confirm that BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers are at high risk of developing breast, ovarian, and contralateral breast cancer. Our results confirm findings from retrospective studies that common breast cancer susceptibility alleles in combination are predictive of breast cancer risk for BRCA2 carriers.
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June 2013

Deletions within COL11A1 in Type 2 stickler syndrome detected by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA).

BMC Med Genet 2013 Apr 26;14:48. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

East Anglian Regional Genetics Laboratory, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK.

Background: COL11A1 is a large complex gene around 250 kb in length and consisting of 68 exons. Pathogenic mutations in the gene can result in Stickler syndrome, Marshall syndrome or Fibrochondrogenesis. Many of the mutations resulting in either Stickler or Marshall syndrome alter splice sites and result in exon skipping, which because of the exon structure of collagen genes usually leaves the message in-frame. The mutant protein then exerts a dominant negative effect as it co-assembles with other collagen gene products. To date only one large deletion of 40 kb in the COL11A1, which was detected by RT-PCR, has been characterized. However, commonly used screening protocols, utilizing genomic amplification and exon sequencing, are unlikely to detect such large deletions. Consequently the frequency of this type of mutation is unknown.

Case Presentations: We have used Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) in conjunction with exon amplification and sequencing, to analyze patients with clinical features of Stickler syndrome, and have detected six novel deletions that were not found by exon sequencing alone.

Conclusion: Exon deletions appear to represent a significant proportion of type 2 Stickler syndrome. This observation was previously unknown and so diagnostic screening of COL11A1 should include assays capable of detecting both large and small deletions, in addition to exon sequencing.
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April 2013