Background: Risk estimates for women carrying germline mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes are mainly based on studies of European ancestry women.
Methods: We investigated associations between pathogenic variants (PV) in 34 genes with breast cancer risk in 871 cases [307 estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, 321 ER-negative, and 243 ER-unknown] and 1,563 controls in the Ghana Breast Health Study (GBHS), and estimated lifetime risk for carriers. We compared results with those for European, Asian, and African American ancestry women.
Results: The frequency of PV in GBHS for nine breast cancer genes was 8.38% in cases and 1.22% in controls. Relative risk estimates for overall breast cancer were: (OR, 13.70; 95% confidence interval (CI), 4.03-46.51) for BRCA1, (OR, 7.02; 95% CI, 3.17-15.54) for BRCA2, (OR, 17.25; 95% CI, 2.15-138.13) for PALB2, 5 cases and no controls carried TP53 PVs, and 2.10, (0.72-6.14) for moderate-risk genes combined (ATM, BARD1, CHEK2, RAD51C, RAD52D). These estimates were similar to those previously reported in other populations and were modified by ER status. No other genes evaluated had mutations associated at P < 0.05 with overall risk. The estimated lifetime risks for mutation carriers in BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 and moderate-risk genes were 18.4%, 9.8%, 22.4%, and 3.1%, respectively, markedly lower than in Western populations with higher baseline risks.
Conclusions: We confirmed associations between PV and breast cancer risk in Ghanaian women and provide absolute risk estimates that could inform counseling in Ghana and other West African countries.
Impact: These findings have direct relevance for breast cancer genetic counseling for women in West Africa.
©2022 American Association for Cancer Research.