NTHL1 is a recessive cancer susceptibility gene

Sci Rep. 2023 Nov 30;13(1):21127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-47441-w.


In search of novel breast cancer (BC) risk variants, we performed a whole-exome sequencing and variant analysis of 69 Finnish BC patients as well as analysed loss-of-function variants identified in DNA repair genes in the Finns from the Genome Aggregation Database. Additionally, we carried out a validation study of SERPINA3 c.918-1G>C, recently suggested for BC predisposition. We estimated the frequencies of 41 rare candidate variants in 38 genes by genotyping them in 2482-4101 BC patients and in 1273-3985 controls. We further evaluated all coding variants in the candidate genes in a dataset of 18,786 BC patients and 182,927 controls from FinnGen. None of the variants associated significantly with cancer risk in the primary BC series; however, in the FinnGen data, NTHL1 c.244C>T p.(Gln82Ter) associated with BC with a high risk for homozygous (OR = 44.7 [95% CI 6.90-290], P = 6.7 × 10-5) and a low risk for heterozygous women (OR = 1.39 [1.18-1.64], P = 7.8 × 10-5). Furthermore, the results suggested a high risk of colorectal, urinary tract, and basal-cell skin cancer for homozygous individuals, supporting NTHL1 as a recessive multi-tumour susceptibility gene. No significant association with BC risk was detected for SERPINA3 or any other evaluated gene.

MeSH terms

  • Breast
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Deoxyribonuclease (Pyrimidine Dimer) / genetics
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans


  • NTHL1 protein, human
  • Deoxyribonuclease (Pyrimidine Dimer)