Germline BRCA2 mutations drive prostate cancers with distinct evolutionary trajectories

Renea A. Taylor, Michael Fraser, Julie Livingstone, Shadrielle Melijah G. Espiritu, Heather Thorne, Vincent Huang, Winnie Lo, Yu-Jia Shiah, Takafumi N. Yamaguchi, Ania Sliwinski, Sheri Horsburgh, Alice Meng, Lawrence E. Heisler, Nancy Yu, Fouad Yousif, Melissa Papargiris, Mitchell G. Lawrence, Lee Timms, Declan G. Murphy, Mark FrydenbergJulia F. Hopkins, Damien Bolton, David Clouston, John D. McPherson, Theodorus Van Der Kwast, Paul C. Boutros, Gail P. Risbridger, Robert G. Bristow

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80 Citations (Scopus)


Germline mutations in the BRCA2 tumour suppressor are associated with both an increased lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer (PCa) and increased risk of aggressive disease. To understand this aggression, here we profile the genomes and methylomes of localized PCa from 14 carriers of deleterious germline BRCA2 mutations (BRCA2-mutant PCa). We show that BRCA2-mutant PCa harbour increased genomic instability and a mutational profile that more closely resembles metastastic than localized disease. BRCA2-mutant PCa shows genomic and epigenomic dysregulation of the MED12L/MED12 axis, which is frequently dysregulated in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). This dysregulation is enriched in BRCA2-mutant PCa harbouring intraductal carcinoma (IDC). Microdissection and sequencing of IDC and juxtaposed adjacent non-IDC invasive carcinoma in 10 patients demonstrates a common ancestor to both histopathologies. Overall we show that localized castration-sensitive BRCA2-mutant tumours are uniquely aggressive, due to de novo aberration in genes usually associated with metastatic disease, justifying aggressive initial treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13671
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017


  • cancer genetics
  • cancer genomics
  • prostate cancer

Cite this

Taylor, R. A., Fraser, M., Livingstone, J., Espiritu, S. M. G., Thorne, H., Huang, V., Lo, W., Shiah, Y-J., Yamaguchi, T. N., Sliwinski, A., Horsburgh, S., Meng, A., Heisler, L. E., Yu, N., Yousif, F., Papargiris, M., Lawrence, M. G., Timms, L., Murphy, D. G., ... Bristow, R. G. (2017). Germline BRCA2 mutations drive prostate cancers with distinct evolutionary trajectories. Nature Communications, 8, [13671].