Improving the accuracy of BRCA1/2 mutation prediction: validation of the novel country-customized IC software

Eur J Hum Genet. 2006 Jan;14(1):49-54. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201511.


Inherited mutations of the BRCA1/2 genes confer a significantly increased risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer development. Several models were elaborated to help genetic counsellors in selecting individuals with high probability of being mutation carriers. The IC software, a country-customized version of the Brcapro model, was recently shown to be particularly accurate in the prediction of carrier probability status in the Italian population. Here, we used our independent series of 70 breast/ovarian cancer families to analyze the performances of the IC software and compare it to widely used models, such as Brcapro and the Myriad mutation prevalence tables. Analysis of the areas under the receiver operator characteristics (ROC) curves indicated that overall the models performed well. However, the IC software and Myriad tables were more efficient in predicting mutated cases, showing a higher sensitivity (94 and 88%, respectively) and negative predictive value (NPV, 94 and 92%, respectively) compared to Brcapro (sensitivity 71 and NPV 83%). IC software also appeared particularly accurate in the identification of families belonging the low mutation risk group (<10%). Finally, most Brcapro failures occurred in the hereditary breast cancer (HBC) family subset, and in 75% of the cases, the IC software corrected them. Our data suggest that the country-customized implementation operated on the Brcapro software generated a more accurate tool for the prediction of BRCA1/2 gene mutation. Whether the IC or other country-customized models might improve BRCA1/2 mutation prediction also in non-Italian families needs to be further explored.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Mutation*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Software*


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein