The main focus of this German-wide multi-center study was to establish a BRCA1/2 mutation profile and to determine family types with high frequencies of mutations in these genes. In a comprehensive study, the entire coding sequences of the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 were analyzed in 989 unrelated patients from German breast/ovarian cancer families. A total of 77 BRCA1 and 63 BRCA2 distinct deleterious mutations were found in 302 patients. More than (1/3) of these mutations are novel and might be specific for the German population. Eighteen common mutations were found in 68% of cases in BRCA1 and 13 recurrent mutations in 44% of cases in BRCA2, facilitating prescreening approaches. Haplotype analysis indicate that 14 out of 20 recurrent mutations are likely originating from a common founder. An additional 50 different rare sequence variants with unknown relevance for tumorigenesis were found in 72 families. Correlation of BRCA1/BRCA2 detection rates with family history identified families with both breast and ovarian cancer to be at highest risk for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations (43% and 10%, respectively), followed by families with at least 2 premenopausal cases of breast cancer (24% BRCA1 and 13% BRCA2 mutations). These data provide strong evidence for further predisposing genes in the German population. In breast cancer families with 2 or 3 affected females but only a single or no premenopausal case, mutations were detected with low frequencies (about 10% or less for both genes). The decision for or against molecular diagnosis is now aided by considering the expected mutation detection rates that greatly depend on family history and structure.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.