While the majority of germline inactivating mutations in BRCA1/2 are small-scale mutations, large genomic rearrangements (LGRs) are also detected in a variable proportion of patients. However, routine genetic methods are incapable of detecting LGRs, and comprehensive genetic testing algorithm is necessary.
We performed multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay for small-scale mutation negative patients at high-risk for LGR, based on previously published LGR risk criteria. The inclusion criteria for the high-risk subgroup were personal history of 1) early-onset breast cancer (diagnosed at ≤36 years); 2) two breast primaries; 3) breast cancer diagnosed at any age, with ≥1 close blood relatives (includes first-, second-, or third-degree) with breast and/or epithelial ovarian cancer; 4) both breast and epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age; and 5) epithelial ovarian cancer with ≥1 close blood relatives with breast and/or epithelial ovarian cancer.
Two LGRs were identified. One was a heterozygous deletion of exon 19 and the other was a heterozygous duplication of exon 4–6. The prevalence of LGRs was 7% among Sanger-negative, high-risk patients, and accounted for 13% of all BRCA1 mutations and 2% of all patients. Moreover, LGRs reported in Korean patients, including our 2 newly identified cases, were found exclusively in families with at least one high-risk feature.
Our result suggests that selective LGR screening for Sanger-negative, high-risk patients is necessary for Korean patients.