Background: The incidence of breast cancer (BC) in Arab women is lower compared to the incidence in the Jewish population in Israel; still, it is the most common malignancy among Arab women. There is a steep rise in breast cancer incidence in the Arab population in Israel over the last 10 years that can be attributed to life style changes. But, the younger age of BC onset in Arab women compared with that of the Jewish population is suggestive of a genetic component in BC occurrence in that population.
Methods: We studied the family history of 31 women of Palestinian Arab (PA) origin affected with breast (n = 28), ovarian (n = 3) cancer. We used denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) to screen for mutations of BRCA1/2 in 4 women with a personal and family history highly suggestive of genetic predisposition.
Results: A novel BRCA1 mutation, E1373X in exon 12, was found in a patient affected with ovarian cancer. Four of her family members, 3 BC patients and a healthy individual were consequently also found to carry this mutation. Of the other 27 patients, which were screened for this specific mutation none was found to carry it.
Conclusion: We found a novel BRCA1 mutation in a family of PA origin with a history highly compatible with BRCA1 phenotype. This mutation was not found in additional 30 PA women affected with BC or OC. Therefore full BRCA1/2 screening should be offered to patients with characteristic family history. The significance of the novel BRCA1 mutation we identified should be studied in larger population. However, it is likely that the E1373X mutation is not a founder frequent mutation in the PA population.