Recurrent BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in breast cancer patients of African ancestry

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jul;134(2):889-94. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2136-z. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Recurrent mutations constituted nearly three quarters of all BRCA1 mutations and almost half of all BRCA2 mutations identified in the first cohort of the Nigerian Breast Cancer Study. To further characterize breast/ovarian cancer risks associated with BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in the African diaspora, we genotyped recurrent mutations among Nigerian, African American, and Barbadian breast cancer patients. A replication cohort of 356 Nigerian breast cancer patients was genotyped for 12 recurrent BRCA1/2 mutant alleles (Y101X, 1742insG, 4241delTG, M1775R, 4359insC, C64Y, 1623delTTAAA, Q1090X, and 943ins10 from BRCA1, and 1538delAAGA, 2630del11, and 9045delGAAA from BRCA2) by means of SNaPshot followed by direct sequencing or by direct sequencing alone. In addition, 260 African Americans and 118 Barbadians were genotyped for six of the recurrent BRCA1 mutations by SNaPshot assay. Of all the BRCA1/2 recurrent mutations we identified in the first cohort, six were identified in 11 patients in the replication study. These mutation carriers constitute 3.1 % [95 % Confidence Interval (CI) 1.6-5.5 %] of the replication cohort. By comparison, 6.9 % (95 % CI 4.7-9.7 %) of the discovery cohort carried BRCA1/2 recurrent mutations. For the subset of recurrent mutations we tested in breast cancer cases from Barbados or the United States, only two 943ins10 carriers were identified in African Americans. Nigerian breast cancer patients from Ibadan carry a broad and unique spectrum of BRCA1/2 mutations. Our data suggest that BRCA1/2 mutation testing limited to recurrent mutations is not sufficient to understand the BRCA1/2-associated breast cancer risk in African populations in the diaspora. As the cost of Sanger sequencing is considerably reduced, deploying innovative technologies such as high throughput DNA sequencing of BRCA1/2 and other cancer susceptibility genes will be essential for identifying high-risk individuals and families to reduce the burden of aggressive early onset breast cancer in low-resource settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Barbados
  • Base Sequence
  • Black or African American
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genotype
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / ethnology
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nigeria


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human