Prevalence of Germline Pathogenic Variants in Cancer Predisposing Genes in Czech and Belgian Pancreatic Cancer Patients

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 2;13(17):4430. doi: 10.3390/cancers13174430.


(1) Background: The proportion and spectrum of germline pathogenic variants (PV) associated with an increased risk for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) varies among populations. (2) Methods: We analyzed 72 Belgian and 226 Czech PDAC patients by multigene panel testing. The prevalence of pathogenic variants (PV) in relation to personal/family cancer history were evaluated. PDAC risks were calculated using both gnomAD-NFE and population-matched controls. (3) Results: In 35/298 (11.7%) patients a PV in an established PDAC-predisposition gene was found. BRCA1/2 PV conferred a high risk in both populations, ATM and Lynch genes only in the Belgian subgroup. PV in other known PDAC-predisposition genes were rarer. Interestingly, a high frequency of CHEK2 PV was observed in both patient populations. PV in PDAC-predisposition genes were more frequent in patients with (i) multiple primary cancers (12/38; 32%), (ii) relatives with PDAC (15/56; 27%), (iii) relatives with breast/ovarian/colorectal cancer or melanoma (15/86; 17%) but more rare in sporadic PDAC (5/149; 3.4%). PV in homologous recombination genes were associated with improved overall survival (HR = 0.51; 95% CI 0.34-0.77). (4) Conclusions: Our analysis emphasizes the value of multigene panel testing in PDAC patients, especially in individuals with a positive family cancer history, and underlines the importance of population-matched controls for risk assessment.

Keywords: family history; germline; multigene panel testing; overall survival; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.