Genetic and histopathologic evaluation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 DNA sequence variants of unknown clinical significance

Georgia Chenevix-Trench, Sue Healey, Sunil Lakhani, Paul Waring, Margaret Cummings, Ross Brinkworth, Amie M. Deffenbaugh, Lynn Anne Burbidge, Dmitry Pruss, Thad Judkins, Tom Scholl, Anna Bekessy, Anna Marsh, Paul Lovelock, Ming Wong, Andrea Tesoriero, Helene Renard, Melissa Southey, John L. Hopper, Koulis YannoukakosMelissa Brown, Douglas Easton, Sean V. Tavtigian, David Goldgar, Amanda B. Spurdle

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140 Citations (Scopus)


Classification of rare missense variants as neutral or disease causing is a challenge and has important implications for genetic counseling. A multifactorial likelihood model for classification of unclassified variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2 has previously been developed, which uses data on cooccurrence of the unclassified variant with pathogenic mutations in the same gene, cosegregation of the unclassified variant with affected status, and Grantham analysis of the fit between the missense substitution and the evolutionary range of variation observed at its position in the protein. We have further developed this model to take into account relevant features of BRCA1- and BAC12-associated tumors, such as the characteristic histopathology and immunochemical profiles associated with pathogenic mutations in BRCA1, and the fact that -80% of tumors from BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers undergo inactivation of the wild-type allele by loss of heterozygosity. We examined 10 BRCA1 and 15 BRCA2 unclassified variants identified in Australian, multiple-case breast cancer families. By a combination of genetic, in silica, and histopathologic analyses, we were able to classify one BRCA1 variant as pathogenic and six BRCA1 and seven BRCA2 variants as neutral. Five of these neutral variants were also found in at least 1 of 180 healthy controls, suggesting that screening a large number of appropriate controls might be a useful adjunct to other methods for evaluation of unclassified variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2019-2027
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

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