Inherited predisposition occurs in 5-10% of all gastrointestinal (GI) cancer patients, but with the exception of colorectal cancer (CRC), the genes involved in conferring genetic susceptibility remain largely unknown. Indirect evidence indicates that germline mutations in BRCA2 might be associated with an increased risk for various GI malignancies. A single mutation (6174delT) occurs in the BRCA2 gene in high-risk breast ovarian cancer families of Jewish Ashkenazi origin, in about 1% of the general Ashkenazi population, and rarely in non-Ashkenazi Jews. In order to assess the contribution of this germline mutation to non-CRC GI cancer in Jewish Israeli patients, we tested 70 unselected, consecutive Jewish Ashkenazi patients with gastrointestinal malignancies for this mutation by PCR amplification and modified restriction enzyme digests. Patients' age range was 38-90 years (mean 65.8+/-11.8 years). The most common malignancies were gastric cancer (n = 35) and exocrine pancreatic cancer (n = 23). Overall, 6 mutation carriers were detected: 3/23 (13%) of the patients with pancreatic cancer, 2/35 (5.7%) of patients with gastric cancer and 1/4 (25%) of patients with bile duct cancer. The 8.6% mutation carrier rate among patients is a rate significantly higher than that of the general Ashkenazi population (1.16%, P = 0.0002). We conclude that the rate of the predominant Jewish BRCA2 mutation in patients with gastric and pancreatic cancer significantly differ from that of the general population of the same ethnic origin. Thus, BRCA2 mutations probably contribute to gastrointestinal tumorigenesis other then colon cancer, and the surveillance scheme for mutation carriers should incorporate this information.
Copyright 2001 Cancer Research Campaign.