Cancer risk according to type and location of ATM mutation in ataxia-telangiectasia families

Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2005 Jan;42(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/gcc.20101.


Epidemiological studies have indicated that ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) heterozygotes in AT families have an increased risk of cancer, particularly of breast cancer (BC). However, in BC case-control studies, no significant differences were found in the frequency of ATM mutations between patients and controls. In such studies missense mutations were found more frequently than truncating mutations, suggesting that the cancer risk depends on mutation type. To investigate this possibility, we assessed the risk of BC according to the type and position of the ATM truncating mutation in extended AT families. DNA or RNA that had been isolated from blood or buccal cells of AT children and their relatives was screened for ATM germ-line mutations using restriction endonuclease fingerprinting, the protein truncation test, fluorescence-assisted mismatch analysis, and direct sequencing. The standardized incidence ratio of cancer associated with ATM heterozygosity status and type of mutation was estimated. We tested for genotype-phenotype correlations by simulations, permuting mutations among parental branches. No significant difference was found in the relative risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer based on mutation type. However, the occurrence of BC may be associated with truncating mutations in certain binding domains of the ATM protein (e.g., P53/BRCA1, beta-adaptin, and FAT domains; P = 0.006). In this limited sample set, the presence of missense or truncating ATM mutations was not associated with different cancer risks. The risk of BC appeared to be associated with the alteration of binding domains rather than with the length of the predicted ATM protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / genetics*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Child
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases