BRCA1/2 Reversion Mutations in Patients Treated with Poly ADP-Ribose Polymerase (PARP) Inhibitors or Platinum Agents

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Dec 10;58(12):1818. doi: 10.3390/medicina58121818.


Background: Reversion mutations in BRCA1/2, resulting in restoration of the open reading frame, have been identified as a mechanism of resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy or PARP inhibition. We sought to explore the incidence of BRCA1/2 reversion mutations in different tumor types. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed molecular profiling results from primary and/or metastatic tumor samples submitted by multiple institutions. The samples underwent DNA and RNA sequencing at a CLIA/CAP-certified clinical lab. Reversion mutations were called only in patients whose available clinical records showed the use of PARP inhibitors or platinum agents prior to tumor profiling. Results: Reversion mutations were identified in 75 of 247,926 samples profiled across all tumor types. Among patients carrying pathogenic or likely pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutations, reversion mutations in BRCA1/2 genes were seen in ovarian cancer (OC) (30/3424), breast cancer (BC) (27/1460), endometrial cancer (4/564), pancreatic cancer (2/340), cholangiocarcinoma (2/178), prostate cancer (5/461), cervical cancer (1/117), cancer of unknown primary (1/244), bladder cancer (1/300), malignant pleural mesothelioma (1/10), and a neuroendocrine tumor of the prostate. We identified 22 reversion mutations in BRCA1 and 8 in BRCA2 in OC. In BC, we detected 6 reversion mutations in BRCA1 and 21 in BRCA2. We compared molecular profile results of 14 high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOC) with reversion mutations against 87 control HGSOC with pathogenic BRCA1/2 mutations without reversion mutations. Tumors with reversion mutations trended to have had lower ER expression (25% vs. 64%, p = 0.024, q = 0.82) and higher KDM6A mutation rate (15% vs. 0, p = 0.016, q = 0.82). Conclusions: We present one of the largest datasets reporting reversion mutations in BRCA1/2 genes across various tumor types. These reversion mutations were rare; this may be because some patients may not have had repeat profiling post-treatment. Repeat tumor profiling at times of treatment resistance can help inform therapy selection in the refractory disease setting.

Keywords: BRCA1/2; PARP inhibitors; platinum-based therapy; resistance mechanisms; reversion mutations.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA1 protein, human
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • BRCA2 protein, human
  • BRCA2 Protein

Grant support

This research received no external funding.