Exome sequencing reveals a high prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 founder variants in a diverse population-based biobank.

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Exome sequencing reveals a high prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 founder variants in a diverse population-based biobank.

Genome Med. 2019 12 31;12(1):2

Authors: Abul-Husn NS, Soper ER, Odgis JA, Cullina S, Bobo D, Moscati A, Rodriguez JE, CBIPM Genomics Team, Regeneron Genetics Center, Loos RJF, Cho JH, Belbin GM, Suckiel SA, Kenny EE

BACKGROUND: Pathogenic variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) lead to increased risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers, but most variant-positive individuals in the general population are unaware of their risk, and little is known about prevalence in non-European populations. We investigated BRCA1/2 prevalence and impact in the electronic health record (EHR)-linked BioMe Biobank in New York City.
METHODS: Exome sequence data from 30,223 adult BioMe participants were evaluated for pathogenic variants in BRCA1/2. Prevalence estimates were made in population groups defined by genetic ancestry and self-report. EHR data were used to evaluate clinical characteristics of variant-positive individuals.
RESULTS: There were 218 (0.7%) individuals harboring expected pathogenic variants, resulting in an overall prevalence of 1 in 139. The highest prevalence was in individuals with Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ; 1 in 49), Filipino and other Southeast Asian (1 in 81), and non-AJ European (1 in 103) ancestry. Among 218 variant-positive individuals, 112 (51.4%) harbored known founder variants: 80 had AJ founder variants (BRCA1 c.5266dupC and c.68_69delAG, and BRCA2 c.5946delT), 8 had a Puerto Rican founder variant (BRCA2 c.3922G>T), and 24 had one of 19 other founder variants. Non-European populations were more likely to harbor BRCA1/2 variants that were not classified in ClinVar or that had uncertain or conflicting evidence for pathogenicity (uncertain/conflicting). Within mixed ancestry populations, such as Hispanic/Latinos with genetic ancestry from Africa, Europe, and the Americas, there was a strong correlation between the proportion of African genetic ancestry and the likelihood of harboring an uncertain/conflicting variant. Approximately 28% of variant-positive individuals had a personal history, and 45% had a personal or family history of BRCA1/2-associated cancers. Approximately 27% of variant-positive individuals had prior clinical genetic testing for BRCA1/2. However, individuals with AJ founder variants were twice as likely to have had a clinical test (39%) than those with other pathogenic variants (20%).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings deepen our knowledge about BRCA1/2 variants and associated cancer risk in diverse populations, indicate a gap in knowledge about potential cancer-related variants in non-European populations, and suggest that genomic screening in diverse patient populations may be an effective tool to identify at-risk individuals.

PMID: 31892343 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]