Different CHEK2 germline mutations are associated with distinct immunophenotypic molecular subtypes of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Apr;132(3):937-45. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1635-7. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


Germline mutations in BRCA1 were already linked to basal-like subtype of immunophenotypic molecular classification of breast cancer (BC). However, it is not known whether mutations in other BC susceptibility genes are associated with molecular subtypes of this cancer. We tested the hypothesis that distinct mutations in another BC susceptibility gene involved in DNA repair, i.e., CHEK2 may be associated with particular immunophenotypic molecular subtypes of this cancer. Two groups of patients: 1255 with BCs and 5496 healthy controls were genotyped for four CHEK2 mutations (I157T and three truncating mutations: 1100delC, IVS2 + 1G > A, del5395). BCs were tested by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays for ER, PR, HER-2, EGFR, and CK5/6 and were assigned to appropriate subtypes of immunophenotypic molecular classification. There was a significant association between CHEK2 mutations and the immunophenotypic molecular classification (P = 0.004). CHEK2-associated cancers were predominantly luminal (108/117 = 92.3%). CHEK2-I157T variant was associated with the luminal A subtype (P = 0.01), whereas CHEK2-truncating mutations were associated with the luminal B subtype (P = 0.005). Comparing the prevalence of CHEK2 mutations in BC with controls revealed that carriers of an I157T variant had OR of 1.80 for luminal A subtype and carriers of truncating mutations had OR of 6.26 for luminal B subtype of BC. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing that specific mutations in the same susceptibility gene are associated with different immunophenotypic molecular subtypes of BC. This association represents independent evidence supporting the biological significance of immunophenotypic molecular classification of BC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Dyspnea
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genotype
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Phenotype
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • CHEK2 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases