Comprehensive mutational analysis of BRCA1/BRCA2 for Korean breast cancer patients: evidence of a founder mutation

Clin Genet. 2009 Aug;76(2):152-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2009.01202.x. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the strongest susceptibility genes identified for breast cancer worldwide. However, BRCA1/BRCA2 have been incompletely investigated due to their large size and the genomic rearrangements that occasionally occur within them. Here we performed a comprehensive mutational analysis for BRCA1/BRCA2 in 206 Korean patients with breast cancer. We analyzed all exons and flanking regions of BRCA1/BRCA2 by direct sequencing and screened deletions or duplications involving BRCA1/BRCA2 by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. We reconstructed haplotypes using intragenic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to investigate the possibility of a founder effect among recurrent mutations. In our series, 38 patients (18.4%) had one or more BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations including 10 novel ones. Three additional patients carried novel distinct unclassified variants with potentially harmful effects. No large deletions or duplications involving BRCA1/BRCA2 were identified in our series. Haplotype analyses and allele separation suggested that the most frequent mutation in Koreans, BRCA2:c.7480C>T, might have originated from a common ancestor. BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations were more frequent in a group with family history, bilateral cancer or multiple site cancer than in a group without the risk factors described or an unknown risk group. In contrast, mutation frequencies in the early-onset cancer group were not higher than in the unknown risk group. Our results will be helpful to understand the mutation spectrum in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes and establish a genetic screening strategy. In addition, this study suggests the possibility of the first true founder mutation of BRCA1/BRCA2 identified in the Korean population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • BRCA1 Protein / chemistry
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / chemistry
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Founder Effect*
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 Protein