Purpose: Multiple-gene sequencing is entering practice, but its clinical value is unknown. We evaluated the performance of a customized germline-DNA sequencing panel for cancer-risk assessment in a representative clinical sample.
Methods: Patients referred for clinical BRCA1/2 testing from 2002 to 2012 were invited to donate a research blood sample. Samples were frozen at -80° C, and DNA was extracted from them after 1 to 10 years. The entire coding region, exon-intron boundaries, and all known pathogenic variants in other regions were sequenced for 42 genes that had cancer risk associations. Potentially actionable results were disclosed to participants.
Results: In total, 198 women participated in the study: 174 had breast cancer and 57 carried germline BRCA1/2 mutations. BRCA1/2 analysis was fully concordant with prior testing. Sixteen pathogenic variants were identified in ATM, BLM, CDH1, CDKN2A, MUTYH, MLH1, NBN, PRSS1, and SLX4 among 141 women without BRCA1/2 mutations. Fourteen participants carried 15 pathogenic variants, warranting a possible change in care; they were invited for targeted screening recommendations, enabling early detection and removal of a tubular adenoma by colonoscopy. Participants carried an average of 2.1 variants of uncertain significance among 42 genes.
Conclusion: Among women testing negative for BRCA1/2 mutations, multiple-gene sequencing identified 16 potentially pathogenic mutations in other genes (11.4%; 95% CI, 7.0% to 17.7%), of which 15 (10.6%; 95% CI, 6.5% to 16.9%) prompted consideration of a change in care, enabling early detection of a precancerous colon polyp. Additional studies are required to quantify the penetrance of identified mutations and determine clinical utility. However, these results suggest that multiple-gene sequencing may benefit appropriately selected patients.
© 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.