Perspectives on the implications of carrying putative pathogenic variants in the medulloblastoma predisposition genes ELP1 and GPR161

Fam Cancer. 2023 Jul;22(3):341-344. doi: 10.1007/s10689-023-00330-7. Epub 2023 Mar 24.


Recent genetic sequencing studies in large series' of predominantly childhood medulloblastoma have implicated loss-of-function, predominantly truncating, variants in the ELP1 and GPR161 genes in causation of the MBSHH subtype specifically. The latter association, along with a report of an index case with some features of Gorlin syndrome has led to speculation that GPR161 may also cause Gorlin syndrome. We show that these genes are associated with relatively low absolute risks of medulloblastoma from extrapolating lifetime risks in the general population and odds ratios from the population database gnomAD. The projected risks are around 1 in 270-430 for ELP1 and 1 in 1600-2500 for GPR161. These risks do not suggest the need for MRI screening in infants with ELP1 or GPR161 variants as this is not currently recommended for PTCH1 where the risks are equivalent or higher. We also screened 27 PTCH1/SUFU pathogenic variant-negative patients with Gorlin syndrome for GPR161 and found no suspicious variants. Given the population frequencies of 0.0962% for GPR161 and 0.0687% for ELP1, neither of these genes can be a cause of Gorlin syndrome with an unexplained population frequency far lower at 0.0021%.

Keywords: ELP1; GPR161; Gorlin Syndrome; Medulloblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome* / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Child
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Medulloblastoma* / genetics
  • Risk