Publications by authors named "Jacopo Azzollini"

45 Publications

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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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab147DOI Listing
July 2021

Correlation between oncological family history and clinical outcome in a large monocentric cohort of pediatric patients with rhabdomyosarcoma.

Int J Clin Oncol 2021 Aug 1;26(8):1561-1568. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Pediatric Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma of the skeletal muscle generally affecting children and adolescents, shows extensive heterogeneity in histology, site and age of onset, clinical course, and prognosis. Tumorigenesis of RMS is multifactorial and genetic predisposition together with the family history of cancer may provide critical information to enhance the current knowledge and foster genetic counseling and testing.

Methods: In our study, we evaluated the possible correlation of oncological family history with clinical outcomes in a cohort of RMS 512 patients and treated at the Pediatric Oncology Unit of our Institute. Family history was retrospectively collected from the specific ad hoc form available in medical records and filled in through an interview with the patients' parents at the time of RMS diagnosis.

Results: While our series did not show a specific association between oncological family history and clinical variables, we observed an association with survival probabilities: among patients with a history of cancer-affected first-degree relatives at the time of the diagnosis, all children with alveolar RMS (ARMS) died of disease.

Conclusion: Our study not only reports an interesting and not previously described association between a poor clinical outcome and ARMS in patients with young cancer-affected relatives, but also stimulates the discussion on oncological family history in RMS, to improve the clinical management of these young patients and their families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10147-021-01934-8DOI Listing
August 2021

A case-only study to identify genetic modifiers of breast cancer risk for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Nat Commun 2021 02 17;12(1):1078. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Breast cancer (BC) risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers varies by genetic and familial factors. About 50 common variants have been shown to modify BC risk for mutation carriers. All but three, were identified in general population studies. Other mutation carrier-specific susceptibility variants may exist but studies of mutation carriers have so far been underpowered. We conduct a novel case-only genome-wide association study comparing genotype frequencies between 60,212 general population BC cases and 13,007 cases with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. We identify robust novel associations for 2 variants with BC for BRCA1 and 3 for BRCA2 mutation carriers, P < 10, at 5 loci, which are not associated with risk in the general population. They include rs60882887 at 11p11.2 where MADD, SP11 and EIF1, genes previously implicated in BC biology, are predicted as potential targets. These findings will contribute towards customising BC polygenic risk scores for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20496-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7890067PMC
February 2021

Analysis of Italian Pathogenic Variants Identifies a Private Spectrum in the Population from the Bergamo Province in Northern Italy.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 30;13(3). Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Genome Diagnostics Program, IFOM, FIRC Institute for Molecular Oncology, 20139 Milan, Italy.

Germline pathogenic variants (PVs) in the or genes cause high breast cancer risk. Recurrent or founder PVs have been described worldwide including some in the Bergamo province in Northern Italy. The aim of this study was to compare the PV spectra of the Bergamo and of the general Italian populations. We retrospectively identified at five Italian centers 1019 PVs carrier individuals affected with breast cancer and representative of the heterogeneous national population. Each individual was assigned to the Bergamo or non-Bergamo cohort based on self-reported birthplace. Our data indicate that the Bergamo PV spectrum shows less heterogeneity with fewer different variants and an average higher frequency compared to that of the rest of Italy. Consistently, four PVs explained about 60% of all carriers. The majority of the Bergamo PVs originated locally with only two PVs clearly imported. The Bergamo PV spectrum appears to be private. Hence, the Bergamo population would be ideal to study the disease risk associated with local PVs in breast cancer and other disease-causing genes. Finally, our data suggest that the Bergamo population is a genetic isolate and further analyses are warranted to prove this notion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030532DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7866799PMC
January 2021

Pre- and Post-Zygotic TP53 De Novo Mutations in SHH-Medulloblastoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 3;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the gene, predisposing to a wide spectrum of early-onset cancers, including brain tumors. In medulloblastoma patients, the role of TP53 has been extensively investigated, though the prevalence of de novo mutations has not been addressed. We characterized TP53 mutations in a monocentric cohort of consecutive Sonic Hedgehog (SHH)-activated medulloblastoma patients. Germline testing was offered based on tumor p53 immunostaining positivity. Among 24 patients, three (12.5%) showed tumor p53 overexpression, of whom two consented to undergo germline testing and resulted as carriers of TP53 mutations. In the first case, family history was uneventful and the mutation was not found in either of the parents. The second patient, with a family history suggestive of LFS, unexpectedly resulted as a carrier of the mosaic mutation c.742=/C>T p.(Arg248=/Trp). The allele frequency was 26% in normal tissues and 42-77% in tumor specimens. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the tumor was also confirmed. Notably, the mosaic case has been in complete remission for more than one year, while the first patient, as most TP53-mutated medulloblastoma cases from other cohorts, showed a severe and rapidly progressive disease. Our study reported the first TP53 mosaic mutation in medulloblastoma patients and confirmed the importance of germline testing in p53 overexpressed SHH-medulloblastoma, regardless of family history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092503DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564492PMC
September 2020

Polygenic risk scores and breast and epithelial ovarian cancer risks for carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants.

Genet Med 2020 10 15;22(10):1653-1666. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Department of Clinical Genetics, Exeter, UK.

Purpose: We assessed the associations between population-based polygenic risk scores (PRS) for breast (BC) or epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) with cancer risks for BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variant carriers.

Methods: Retrospective cohort data on 18,935 BRCA1 and 12,339 BRCA2 female pathogenic variant carriers of European ancestry were available. Three versions of a 313 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) BC PRS were evaluated based on whether they predict overall, estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, or ER-positive BC, and two PRS for overall or high-grade serous EOC. Associations were validated in a prospective cohort.

Results: The ER-negative PRS showed the strongest association with BC risk for BRCA1 carriers (hazard ratio [HR] per standard deviation = 1.29 [95% CI 1.25-1.33], P = 3×10). For BRCA2, the strongest association was with overall BC PRS (HR = 1.31 [95% CI 1.27-1.36], P = 7×10). HR estimates decreased significantly with age and there was evidence for differences in associations by predicted variant effects on protein expression. The HR estimates were smaller than general population estimates. The high-grade serous PRS yielded the strongest associations with EOC risk for BRCA1 (HR = 1.32 [95% CI 1.25-1.40], P = 3×10) and BRCA2 (HR = 1.44 [95% CI 1.30-1.60], P = 4×10) carriers. The associations in the prospective cohort were similar.

Conclusion: Population-based PRS are strongly associated with BC and EOC risks for BRCA1/2 carriers and predict substantial absolute risk differences for women at PRS distribution extremes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0862-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7521995PMC
October 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies 32 novel breast cancer susceptibility loci from overall and subtype-specific analyses.

Nat Genet 2020 06 18;52(6):572-581. Epub 2020 May 18.

Molecular Medicine Unit, Fundación Pública Galega de Medicina Xenómica, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Breast cancer susceptibility variants frequently show heterogeneity in associations by tumor subtype. To identify novel loci, we performed a genome-wide association study including 133,384 breast cancer cases and 113,789 controls, plus 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer) of European ancestry, using both standard and novel methodologies that account for underlying tumor heterogeneity by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 status and tumor grade. We identified 32 novel susceptibility loci (P < 5.0 × 10), 15 of which showed evidence for associations with at least one tumor feature (false discovery rate < 0.05). Five loci showed associations (P < 0.05) in opposite directions between luminal and non-luminal subtypes. In silico analyses showed that these five loci contained cell-specific enhancers that differed between normal luminal and basal mammary cells. The genetic correlations between five intrinsic-like subtypes ranged from 0.35 to 0.80. The proportion of genome-wide chip heritability explained by all known susceptibility loci was 54.2% for luminal A-like disease and 37.6% for triple-negative disease. The odds ratios of polygenic risk scores, which included 330 variants, for the highest 1% of quantiles compared with middle quantiles were 5.63 and 3.02 for luminal A-like and triple-negative disease, respectively. These findings provide an improved understanding of genetic predisposition to breast cancer subtypes and will inform the development of subtype-specific polygenic risk scores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0609-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7808397PMC
June 2020

Analysis of and Promoter Methylation in Italian Families at High-Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 8;12(4). Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Previous studies on breast and ovarian carcinoma (BC and OC) revealed constitutional and promoter hypermethylation as epigenetic alterations leading to tumor predisposition. Nevertheless, the impact of epimutations at these genes is still debated. One hundred and eight women affected by BC, OC, or both and considered at very high risk of carrying germline mutations were studied. All samples were negative for pathogenic variants or variants of uncertain significance at testing. Quantitative and promoter methylation analyses were performed by Epityper mass spectrometry on peripheral blood samples and results were compared with those in controls. All the 108 analyzed cases showed methylation levels at the promoter comparable with controls. Mean methylation levels (± stdev) at the promoter were 4.3% (± 1.4%) and 4.4% (± 1.4%) in controls and patients, respectively ( > 0.05; -test); mean methylation levels (± stdev) at the promoter were 4.3% (± 0.9%) and 3.7% (± 0.9%) in controls and patients, respectively ( > 0.05; -test). Based on these observations; the analysis of constitutional methylation at promoters of these genes does not seem to substantially improve the definition of cancer risks in patients. These data support the idea that epimutations represent a very rare event in high-risk BC/OC populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12040910DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226593PMC
April 2020

Transcriptome-wide association study of breast cancer risk by estrogen-receptor status.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 07 1;44(5):442-468. Epub 2020 Mar 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Previous transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) have identified breast cancer risk genes by integrating data from expression quantitative loci and genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but analyses of breast cancer subtype-specific associations have been limited. In this study, we conducted a TWAS using gene expression data from GTEx and summary statistics from the hitherto largest GWAS meta-analysis conducted for breast cancer overall, and by estrogen receptor subtypes (ER+ and ER-). We further compared associations with ER+ and ER- subtypes, using a case-only TWAS approach. We also conducted multigene conditional analyses in regions with multiple TWAS associations. Two genes, STXBP4 and HIST2H2BA, were specifically associated with ER+ but not with ER- breast cancer. We further identified 30 TWAS-significant genes associated with overall breast cancer risk, including four that were not identified in previous studies. Conditional analyses identified single independent breast-cancer gene in three of six regions harboring multiple TWAS-significant genes. Our study provides new information on breast cancer genetics and biology, particularly about genomic differences between ER+ and ER- breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987299PMC
July 2020

The Spectrum of Protein Truncating Variants in European Breast Cancer Cases.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 01 26;12(2). Epub 2020 Jan 26.

Institute of Biochemistry and Experimental Oncology, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague 12853, Czech Republic.

Germline protein truncating variants (PTVs) in the gene have been associated with a 2-4-fold increased breast cancer risk in case-control studies conducted in different European populations. However, the distribution and the frequency of PTVs in Europe have never been investigated. In the present study, we collected the data of 114 European female breast cancer cases with PTVs ascertained in 20 centers from 13 European countries. We identified 27 different PTVs. The p.Gln1701* PTV is the most common PTV in Northern Europe with a maximum frequency in Finland and a lower relative frequency in Southern Europe. On the contrary, p.Arg1931* seems to be the most common PTV in Southern Europe. We also showed that p.Arg658*, the third most common PTV, is more frequent in Central Europe, and p.Gln498Thrfs*7 is probably a founder variant from Lithuania. Of the 23 rare or unique PTVs, 15 have not been previously reported. We provide here the initial spectrum of PTVs in European breast cancer cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12020292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073216PMC
January 2020

Fine-mapping of 150 breast cancer risk regions identifies 191 likely target genes.

Nat Genet 2020 01 7;52(1):56-73. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Milan, Italy.

Genome-wide association studies have identified breast cancer risk variants in over 150 genomic regions, but the mechanisms underlying risk remain largely unknown. These regions were explored by combining association analysis with in silico genomic feature annotations. We defined 205 independent risk-associated signals with the set of credible causal variants in each one. In parallel, we used a Bayesian approach (PAINTOR) that combines genetic association, linkage disequilibrium and enriched genomic features to determine variants with high posterior probabilities of being causal. Potentially causal variants were significantly over-represented in active gene regulatory regions and transcription factor binding sites. We applied our INQUSIT pipeline for prioritizing genes as targets of those potentially causal variants, using gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci), chromatin interaction and functional annotations. Known cancer drivers, transcription factors and genes in the developmental, apoptosis, immune system and DNA integrity checkpoint gene ontology pathways were over-represented among the highest-confidence target genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0537-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6974400PMC
January 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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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1840DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7553241PMC
February 2020

The :p.Arg658* truncating variant is associated with risk of triple-negative breast cancer.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2019 1;5:38. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

25University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Houston, TX USA.

Breast cancer is a common disease partially caused by genetic risk factors. Germline pathogenic variants in DNA repair genes , , , , and are associated with breast cancer risk. , which encodes for a DNA translocase, has been proposed as a breast cancer predisposition gene, with greater effects for the ER-negative and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtypes. We tested the three recurrent protein-truncating variants :p.Arg658*, p.Gln1701*, and p.Arg1931* for association with breast cancer risk in 67,112 cases, 53,766 controls, and 26,662 carriers of pathogenic variants of or . These three variants were also studied functionally by measuring survival and chromosome fragility in patient-derived immortalized fibroblasts treated with diepoxybutane or olaparib. We observed that :p.Arg658* was associated with increased risk of ER-negative disease and TNBC (OR = 2.44,  = 0.034 and OR = 3.79;  = 0.009, respectively). In a country-restricted analysis, we confirmed the associations detected for :p.Arg658* and found that also :p.Arg1931* was associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk (OR = 1.96;  = 0.006). The functional results indicated that all three variants were deleterious affecting cell survival and chromosome stability with :p.Arg658* causing more severe phenotypes. In conclusion, we confirmed that the two rare deleterious variants p.Arg658* and p.Arg1931* are risk factors for ER-negative and TNBC subtypes. Overall our data suggest that the effect of truncating variants on breast cancer risk may depend on their position in the gene. Cell sensitivity to olaparib exposure, identifies a possible therapeutic option to treat -associated tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-019-0127-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825205PMC
November 2019

Evaluation of CYP17A1 and CYP1B1 polymorphisms in male breast cancer risk.

Endocr Connect 2019 Aug;8(8):1224-1229

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

Breast cancer in men is a rare and still poorly characterized disease. Inherited mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2 genes, as well as common polymorphisms, play a role in male breast cancer genetic predisposition. Male breast cancer is considered a hormone-dependent tumor specifically related to hyperestrogenism. Polymorphisms in genes involved in estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism pathways, such as CYP17A1 and CYP1B1, have been associated with breast cancer risk. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of CYP17A1 and CYP1B1 polymorphisms in male breast cancer risk. A series of 597 male breast cancer cases and 1022 male controls, recruited within the Italian Multicenter Study on male breast cancer, was genotyped for CYP17A1 rs743572, CYP1B1 rs1056836 and rs1800440 polymorphisms by allelic discrimination real-time PCR with TaqMan probes. Associations with male breast cancer risk were estimated using logistic regression. No statistically significant associations between male breast cancer risk and the three analyzed polymorphisms emerged. Similar results were obtained also when BRCA1/2 mutational status was considered. No significant differences in the distribution of the genotypes according to estrogen receptor status emerged. In conclusion, our study, based on a large series of male breast cancer cases, is likely to exclude a relevant role of CYP17A1 and CYP1B1 polymorphisms in male breast cancer predisposition. Overall, these results add new data to the increasing evidence that polymorphisms in these genes may not be associated with breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EC-19-0225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6733362PMC
August 2019

Risk-reducing surgery in BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers: Are there factors associated with the choice?

Psychooncology 2019 09 11;28(9):1871-1878. Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Clinical Psychlogy Unit, Fondazione IRCSS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Objective: Female carriers of BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations (BRCAm) are at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The main prevention options currently available consist in either clinical-radiological surveillance or risk-reducing surgery. This study investigated factors that might influence the choice of risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) and/or salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) over surveillance in high-risk women.

Methods: One hundred twenty-eight BRCAm women, 75 (58.60%) cancer affected (C-A) and 53 (41.40%) cancer-unaffected (C-UN), completed a baseline questionnaire concerning socio-demographic factors, personal medical history, cancer family history, and psychological dimensions. Preferences about prevention strategies were evaluated after 15 months. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyse the relationship between these factors and the choice of RRSO or RRM in the whole cohort and the choice of surgery (RRM and/or RRSO) in C-A and C-UN women.

Results: The analyses on the whole cohort highlighted factors associated with the choice of both RRM and RRSO ("cancer concern," "previous therapeutic mastectomy," and "number of cancer-affected family members"), but also a few specifically associated with either RRM (age) or RRSO ("health" and "energy" perception and "number of children"). Surgery was more likely to be chosen by C-A (76%) than C-UN women (34%). With the exception of "cancer concern," factors associated with the choice of surgery were different between C-A ("number of deaths for cancer in the family" and "feeling downhearted and blue") and C-UN ("number of children" and "health perception") women.

Conclusion: This study highlights potential drivers underlying the choice of preventive surgery, which should be considered when supporting the decision-making process in these women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.5166DOI Listing
September 2019

Mendelian randomisation study of height and body mass index as modifiers of ovarian cancer risk in 22,588 BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

Br J Cancer 2019 07 19;121(2):180-192. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Department of Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia.

Background: Height and body mass index (BMI) are associated with higher ovarian cancer risk in the general population, but whether such associations exist among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers is unknown.

Methods: We applied a Mendelian randomisation approach to examine height/BMI with ovarian cancer risk using the Consortium of Investigators for the Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA) data set, comprising 14,676 BRCA1 and 7912 BRCA2 mutation carriers, with 2923 ovarian cancer cases. We created a height genetic score (height-GS) using 586 height-associated variants and a BMI genetic score (BMI-GS) using 93 BMI-associated variants. Associations were assessed using weighted Cox models.

Results: Observed height was not associated with ovarian cancer risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.07 per 10-cm increase in height, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.94-1.23). Height-GS showed similar results (HR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.85-1.23). Higher BMI was significantly associated with increased risk in premenopausal women with HR = 1.25 (95% CI: 1.06-1.48) and HR = 1.59 (95% CI: 1.08-2.33) per 5-kg/m increase in observed and genetically determined BMI, respectively. No association was found for postmenopausal women. Interaction between menopausal status and BMI was significant (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Our observation of a positive association between BMI and ovarian cancer risk in premenopausal BRCA1/2 mutation carriers is consistent with findings in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0492-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6738050PMC
July 2019

Large scale multifactorial likelihood quantitative analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants: An ENIGMA resource to support clinical variant classification.

Hum Mutat 2019 09;40(9):1557-1578

Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

The multifactorial likelihood analysis method has demonstrated utility for quantitative assessment of variant pathogenicity for multiple cancer syndrome genes. Independent data types currently incorporated in the model for assessing BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants include clinically calibrated prior probability of pathogenicity based on variant location and bioinformatic prediction of variant effect, co-segregation, family cancer history profile, co-occurrence with a pathogenic variant in the same gene, breast tumor pathology, and case-control information. Research and clinical data for multifactorial likelihood analysis were collated for 1,395 BRCA1/2 predominantly intronic and missense variants, enabling classification based on posterior probability of pathogenicity for 734 variants: 447 variants were classified as (likely) benign, and 94 as (likely) pathogenic; and 248 classifications were new or considerably altered relative to ClinVar submissions. Classifications were compared with information not yet included in the likelihood model, and evidence strengths aligned to those recommended for ACMG/AMP classification codes. Altered mRNA splicing or function relative to known nonpathogenic variant controls were moderately to strongly predictive of variant pathogenicity. Variant absence in population datasets provided supporting evidence for variant pathogenicity. These findings have direct relevance for BRCA1 and BRCA2 variant evaluation, and justify the need for gene-specific calibration of evidence types used for variant classification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23818DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6772163PMC
September 2019

Genome-wide association and transcriptome studies identify target genes and risk loci for breast cancer.

Nat Commun 2019 04 15;10(1):1741. Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Molecular Oncology Laboratory, CIBERONC, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, IdISSC (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos), 28040, Madrid, Spain.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 170 breast cancer susceptibility loci. Here we hypothesize that some risk-associated variants might act in non-breast tissues, specifically adipose tissue and immune cells from blood and spleen. Using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) reported in these tissues, we identify 26 previously unreported, likely target genes of overall breast cancer risk variants, and 17 for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer, several with a known immune function. We determine the directional effect of gene expression on disease risk measured based on single and multiple eQTL. In addition, using a gene-based test of association that considers eQTL from multiple tissues, we identify seven (and four) regions with variants associated with overall (and ER-negative) breast cancer risk, which were not reported in previous GWAS. Further investigation of the function of the implicated genes in breast and immune cells may provide insights into the etiology of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08053-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465407PMC
April 2019

Co-occurrence of Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome and ovarian cancer: A case report and review of the literature.

Gynecol Oncol Rep 2019 May 17;28:68-70. Epub 2019 Mar 17.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Via Venezian 1, 20133 Milan, Italy.

Background: Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS) is a congenital disorder of yet unknown etiology, characterized by agenesis/hypoplasia of the müllerian duct system. The occurrence of ovarian cancer (OC) in MRKHS is rare, with <20 cases reported to date.

Case: A woman affected with MRKHS, developed an abdominal mass at the age of 33 years. Surgical examination revealed a blind vagina, small rudimentary uterus, two fully developed tubes and large bilateral ovarian tumors. The histological diagnosis was a low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSOC) of both ovaries, staged IIB. The patient showed a normal female karyotype and resulted negative at the BRCA1/2 genetic testing.

Conclusion: This is the first report of a LGSOC in a patient with MRKHS. Although the identification of familial cases with both MRKHS and OC raised the hypothesis of a common genetic origin, further data and reports of additional cases are needed in order to assess a possible association of the two conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gore.2019.03.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6431729PMC
May 2019

Constitutive Promoter Hypermethylation Can Be a Predisposing Event in Isolated Early-Onset Breast Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Jan 9;11(1). Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, 20133 Milan, Italy.

Early age at onset of breast cancer (eoBC) is suggestive of an increased genetic risk. Although genetic testing is offered to all eoBC-affected women, in isolated cases the detection rate of pathogenic variants is <10%. This study aimed at assessing the role of constitutive promoter methylation at BC-associated loci as an underlying predisposing event in women with eoBC and negative family history. Promoter methylation at 12 loci was assessed by the MassARRAY technology in blood from 154 negative patients with eoBC and negative family history, and 60 healthy controls. Hypermethylation was determined, within each promoter, by comparing the patient's mean methylation value with thresholds based on one-sided 95% bootstrap confidence interval of the controls' mean. Three patients had hypermethylated results, two at and one at . Analyses on tumor tissue from the patient exceeding the highest threshold at revealed a mean methylation >60% and loss of heterozygosity at chromosome 17q. The patient hypermethylated at showed low methylation in the tumor sample, ruling out a role for methylation-induced silencing in tumor development. In isolated eoBC patients, constitutive promoter methylation may be a predisposing event. Further studies are required to define the impact of methylation changes occurring at BC-predisposing genes and their role in tumorigenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11010058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356733PMC
January 2019

Insight into genetic susceptibility to male breast cancer by multigene panel testing: Results from a multicenter study in Italy.

Int J Cancer 2019 07 24;145(2):390-400. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

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

Breast cancer (BC) in men is rare and genetic predisposition is likely to play a relevant role in its etiology. Inherited mutations in BRCA1/2 account for about 13% of all cases and additional genes that may contribute to the missing heritability need to be investigated. In our study, a well-characterized series of 523 male BC (MBC) patients from the Italian multicenter study on MBC, enriched for non-BRCA1/2 MBC cases, was screened by a multigene custom panel of 50 cancer-associated genes. The main clinical-pathologic characteristics of MBC in pathogenic variant carriers and non-carriers were also compared. BRCA1/2 pathogenic variants were detected in twenty patients, thus, a total of 503 non-BRCA1/2 MBC patients were examined in our study. Twenty-seven of the non-BRCA1/2 MBC patients were carriers of germline pathogenic variants in other genes, including two APC p.Ile1307Lys variant carriers and one MUTYH biallelic variant carrier. PALB2 was the most frequently altered gene (1.2%) and PALB2 pathogenic variants were significantly associated with high risk of MBC. Non-BRCA1/2 pathogenic variant carriers were more likely to have personal (p = 0.0005) and family (p = 0.007) history of cancer. Results of our study support a central role of PALB2 in MBC susceptibility and show a low impact of CHEK2 on MBC predisposition in the Italian population. Overall, our data indicate that a multigene testing approach may benefit from appropriately selected patients with implications for clinical management and counseling of MBC patients and their family members.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32106DOI Listing
July 2019

Contribution of Variants to Male Breast Cancer Risk: Results From a Multicenter Study in Italy.

Front Oncol 2018 4;8:583. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

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

Inherited mutations in , and, mainly, genes are associated with increased risk of male breast cancer (MBC). Mutations in and genes may also increase MBC risk. Overall, these genes are functionally linked to DNA repair pathways, highlighting the central role of genome maintenance in MBC genetic predisposition. is a DNA repair gene whose biallelic germline variants cause MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) syndrome. Monoallelic variants have been reported in families with both colorectal and breast cancer and there is some evidence on increased breast cancer risk in women with monoallelic variants. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether germline variants may contribute to MBC susceptibility. To this aim, we screened the entire coding region of in 503 mutation negative MBC cases by multigene panel analysis. Moreover, we genotyped selected variants, including p.Tyr179Cys, p.Gly396Asp, p.Arg245His, p.Gly264Trpfs7, and p.Gln338His, in a total of 560 MBC cases and 1,540 male controls. Biallelic pathogenic variants (p.Tyr179Cys/p.Arg241Trp) were identified in one MBC patient with phenotypic manifestation of adenomatous polyposis. Monoallelic pathogenic variants were identified in 14 (2.5%) MBC patients, in particular, p.Tyr179Cys was detected in seven cases, p.Gly396Asp in five cases, p.Arg245His and p.Gly264Trpfs7 in one case each. The majority of MBC cases with pathogenic variants had family history of cancer including breast, colorectal, and gastric cancers. In the case-control study, an association between the variant p.Tyr179Cys and increased MBC risk emerged by multivariate analysis [odds ratio (OR) = 4.54; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.17-17.58; = 0.028]. Overall, our study suggests that pathogenic variants may have a role in MBC and, in particular, the p.Tyr179Cys variant may be a low/moderate penetrance risk allele for MBC. Moreover, our results suggest that MBC may be part of the tumor spectrum associated with MAP syndrome, with implication in the clinical management of patients and their relatives. Large-scale collaborative studies are needed to validate these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00583DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288482PMC
December 2018

Two Missense Variants Detected in Breast Cancer Probands Preventing BRCA2-PALB2 Protein Interaction.

Front Oncol 2018 25;8:480. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

Genome Diagnostics Program, IFOM the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan, Italy.

PALB2 (partner and localizer of BRCA2) was initially identified as a binding partner of BRCA2. It interacts also with BRCA1 forming a complex promoting DNA repair by homologous recombination. Germline pathogenic variants in and DNA repair genes are associated with high risk of developing breast cancer. Mutation screening in these breast cancer predisposition genes is routinely performed and allows the identification of individuals who carry pathogenic variants and are at risk of developing the disease. However, variants of uncertain significance (VUSs) are often detected and establishing their pathogenicity and clinical relevance remains a central challenge for the risk assessment of the carriers and the clinical decision-making process. Many of these VUSs are missense variants leading to single amino acid substitutions, whose impact on protein function is uncertain. Typically, VUSs are rare and due to the limited genetic, clinical, and pathological data the multifactorial approaches used for classification cannot be applied. Thus, these variants can only be characterized through functional analyses comparing their effect with that of normal and mutant gene products used as positive and negative controls. The two missense variants :c.91T >G (p.Trp31Gly) and :c.3262C >T (p.Pro1088Ser) were detected in two breast cancer probands originally ascertained at Breast Cancer Units of Institutes located in Milan and Bergamo (Northern Italy), respectively. These variants were located in the BRCA2-PALB2 interacting domains, were predicted to be deleterious by analyses, and were very rare and clinically not classified. Therefore, we initiate to study their functional effect by exploiting a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-reassembly assay specifically designed to test the BRCA2-PALB2 interaction. This functional assay proved to be easy to develop, robust and reliable. It also allows testing variants located in different genes. Results from these functional analyses showed that the :p.Trp31Gly and the :p.Pro1088Ser prevented the BRCA2-PALB2 binding. While caution is warranted when the interpretation of the clinical significance of rare VUSs is based on functional studies only, our data provide initial evidences in favor of the possibility that these variants are pathogenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00480DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210650PMC
October 2018

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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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6449171PMC
April 2019

Mutational spectrum in a worldwide study of 29,700 families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Hum Mutat 2018 05 12;39(5):593-620. Epub 2018 Mar 12.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, Canada.

The prevalence and spectrum of germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been reported in single populations, with the majority of reports focused on White in Europe and North America. The Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA) has assembled data on 18,435 families with BRCA1 mutations and 11,351 families with BRCA2 mutations ascertained from 69 centers in 49 countries on six continents. This study comprehensively describes the characteristics of the 1,650 unique BRCA1 and 1,731 unique BRCA2 deleterious (disease-associated) mutations identified in the CIMBA database. We observed substantial variation in mutation type and frequency by geographical region and race/ethnicity. In addition to known founder mutations, mutations of relatively high frequency were identified in specific racial/ethnic or geographic groups that may reflect founder mutations and which could be used in targeted (panel) first pass genotyping for specific populations. Knowledge of the population-specific mutational spectrum in BRCA1 and BRCA2 could inform efficient strategies for genetic testing and may justify a more broad-based oncogenetic testing in some populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903938PMC
May 2018

Survey of gynecological carcinosarcomas in families with breast and ovarian cancer predisposition.

Cancer Genet 2018 02 29;221:38-45. Epub 2017 Dec 29.

Unit of Molecular Bases of Genetic Risk and Genetic Testing, Research Department, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Via Amadeo 42, 20133, Milan, Italy.

Carcinosarcomas (CSs) are biphasic neoplasms composed of high grade, malignant, epithelial and mesenchymal elements. The incidence of gynecological CSs (GCSs) is 0.4/100,000 women per year. Patients affected with GCSs have been occasionally reported in Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) families, including a few cases with pathogenic variants in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes. The prevalence and the association of GCSs in HBOC families have not been systematically investigated. Thus, we searched for families with GCSs in the HBOC registry of the National Cancer Institute of Milan. Eleven families, including four BRCA1-positive and four BRCA2-positive, presented a case of GCS. In the three BRCA1-mutated patients for whom surgical specimens were available, DNA fragment and sequencing analyses revealed the loss of the constitutionally wild-type BRCA1 allele. All tumors presented also TP53 mutations and stained positive for the expression of the protein product by immunohistochemistry. Our results suggest that GCSs may be found not infrequently in HBOC families and assimilate the analyzed CSs to BRCA1-related breast/ovarian carcinomas, where the above findings are frequently observed. Exploring the role of BRCA genes in prospective unselected series of GCSs might improve the knowledge of the genesis of these malignancies and guide the proposition of prophylactic surgery and targeted therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cancergen.2017.12.001DOI Listing
February 2018

Identification of ten variants associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.

Nat Genet 2017 Dec 23;49(12):1767-1778. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, USA.

Most common breast cancer susceptibility variants have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of predominantly estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease. We conducted a GWAS using 21,468 ER-negative cases and 100,594 controls combined with 18,908 BRCA1 mutation carriers (9,414 with breast cancer), all of European origin. We identified independent associations at P < 5 × 10 with ten variants at nine new loci. At P < 0.05, we replicated associations with 10 of 11 variants previously reported in ER-negative disease or BRCA1 mutation carrier GWAS and observed consistent associations with ER-negative disease for 105 susceptibility variants identified by other studies. These 125 variants explain approximately 16% of the familial risk of this breast cancer subtype. There was high genetic correlation (0.72) between risk of ER-negative breast cancer and breast cancer risk for BRCA1 mutation carriers. These findings may lead to improved risk prediction and inform further fine-mapping and functional work to better understand the biological basis of ER-negative breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3785DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5808456PMC
December 2017

Individuals with FANCM biallelic mutations do not develop Fanconi anemia, but show risk for breast cancer, chemotherapy toxicity and may display chromosome fragility.

Genet Med 2018 04 24;20(4):452-457. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

Genome Diagnostics Program, IFOM, The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan, Italy.

PurposeMonoallelic germ-line mutations in the BRCA1/FANCS, BRCA2/FANCD1 and PALB2/FANCN genes confer high risk of breast cancer. Biallelic mutations in these genes cause Fanconi anemia (FA), characterized by malformations, bone marrow failure, chromosome fragility, and cancer predisposition (BRCA2/FANCD1 and PALB2/FANCN), or an FA-like disease presenting a phenotype similar to FA but without bone marrow failure (BRCA1/FANCS). FANCM monoallelic mutations have been reported as moderate risk factors for breast cancer, but there are no reports of any clinical phenotype observed in carriers of biallelic mutations.MethodsBreast cancer probands were subjected to mutation analysis by sequencing gene panels or testing DNA damage response genes.ResultsFive cases homozygous for FANCM loss-of-function mutations were identified. They show a heterogeneous phenotype including cancer predisposition, toxicity to chemotherapy, early menopause, and possibly chromosome fragility. Phenotype severity might correlate with mutation position in the gene.ConclusionOur data indicate that biallelic FANCM mutations do not cause classical FA, providing proof that FANCM is not a canonical FA gene. Moreover, our observations support previous findings suggesting that FANCM is a breast cancer-predisposing gene. Mutation testing of FANCM might be considered for individuals with the above-described clinical features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/gim.2017.123DOI Listing
April 2018

Increased access to TP53 analysis through breast cancer multi-gene panels: clinical considerations.

Fam Cancer 2018 07;17(3):317-319

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10689-017-0020-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5999151PMC
July 2018
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