Landscape of somatic mutations in breast cancer: new opportunities for targeted therapies in Saudi Arabian patients

Oncotarget. 2021 Mar 30;12(7):686-697. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.27909.


Breast cancer (BCa) ranks first in incidence rate among cancers in Arab females. The association between genetic polymorphisms in tumor suppressor genes and the risk of BCa has been studied in many ethnic populations with conflicting conclusions while Arab females and Saudi Arabian studies are still lacking. We screened a cohort of Saudi BCa patients by NGS using a bespoke gene panel to clarify the genetic landscape of this population, correlating and assessing genetic findings with clinical outcomes. We identified a total of 263 mutations spanning 51 genes, including several frequently mutated. Among the genes analyzed, the highest mutation rates were found in PIK3CA (12.9%), BRCA2 (11.7%), BRCA1 (10.2%), TP53 (6.0%), MSH2 (3.8%), PMS2 (3.8%), BARD1 (3.8%), MLH1 (3.4%), CDH1 (3.0%), RAD50 (3.0%), MSH6 (3.0%), NF1 (2.6%), in addition to others. We identified multiple common recurrent variants and previously reported mutations. We also identified 46 novel variants in 22 genes that were predicted to have a pathogenic effect. Survival analysis according to the four most common mutations (BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, and PIK3CA) showed reduced survival in BRCA1 and BRCA2-mutant patients compared to total patients. Moreover, BRCA2 was demonstrated as an independent predictor of reduced survival using independent Cox proportional hazard models. We reveal the landscape of the mutations associated with BCa in Saudi women, highlighting the importance of routine genetic sequencing in implementation of precision therapies in KSA.

Keywords: BCa; BRCA; PIK3CA; Saudi Arabia; breast cancer.