Next generation sequencing technologies have provided insights into the molecular heterogeneity of various myeloid neoplasms, revealing previously unknown somatic genetic events. In our cohort of 1444 cases analyzed by next generation sequencing, somatic mutations in the gene BRCA1-BRCA2-containing complex 3 (BRCC3) were identified in 28 cases (1.9%). BRCC3 is a member of the JAMM/MPN+ family of zinc metalloproteases capable of cleaving Lys-63 linked polyubiquitin chains, and is implicated in DNA repair. The mutations were located throughout its coding region. The average variant allelic frequency of BRCC3 mutations was 30.1%, and by a serial sample analysis at two different time points a BRCC3 mutation was already identified in the initial stage of a myelodysplastic syndrome. BRCC3 mutations commonly occurred in nonsense (n=12), frameshift (n=4), and splice site (n=5) configurations. Due to the marginal male dominance (odds ratio; 2.00, 0.84-4.73) of BRCC3 mutations, the majority of mutations (n=23; 82%) were hemizygous. Phenotypically, BRCC3 mutations were frequently observed in myelodysplastic syndromes and myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms and associated with -Y abnormality (odds ratio; 3.70, 1.25-11.0). Clinically, BRCC3 mutations were also related to higher age (P=0.01), although prognosis was not affected. Knockdown of Brcc3 gene expression in murine bone marrow lineage negative, Sca1 positive, c-kit positive cells resulted in 2-fold more colony formation and modest differentiation defect. Thus, BRCC3 likely plays a role as tumor-associated gene in myelodysplastic syndromes and myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms.
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