Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) clusters in some families. Familial RCC arises from mutations in several genes, including the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, which is also mutated in sporadic RCC. However, a significant percentage of familial RCC remains unexplained. Recently, we discovered that the BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) gene is mutated in sporadic RCC. The BAP1 gene encodes a nuclear deubiquitinase and appears to be a classic two-hit tumor suppressor gene. Somatic BAP1 mutations are associated with high-grade, clear-cell RCC (ccRCC) and poor patient outcomes. To determine whether BAP1 predisposes to familial RCC, the BAP1 gene was sequenced in 83 unrelated probands with unexplained familial RCC. Interestingly, a novel variant (c.41T>A; p.L14H) was uncovered that cosegregated with the RCC phenotype. The p.L14H variant targets a highly conserved residue in the catalytic domain, which is frequently targeted by missense mutations. The family with the novel BAP1 variant was characterized by early-onset ccRCC, occasionally of high Fuhrman grade, and lacked other features that typify VHL syndrome. These findings suggest that BAP1 is an early-onset familial RCC predisposing gene.
Implications: BAP1 mutations may drive tumor development in a subset of patients with inherited renal cell cancer.