Comprehensive germline profiling of patients with breast cancer: initial experience from a Familial Cancer Clinic

15 Feb 2024
Raja Pramanik, Sindhura Chitikela, SVS Deo, Ajay Gogia, Atul Batra, Akash Kumar, Ritu Gupta, Deepshi Thakral, Vedam L Ramprasad, Sandeep Mathur, DN Sharma, Aparna Sharma, Ashutosh Mishra, Babul Bansal

Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Indian females. There is limited data on germline profiling of breast cancer patients from India.

Objective: The objective of the current study was to analyse the frequency and spectrum of germline variant profiles and clinicopathological characteristics of breast cancer patients referred to our Familial Cancer Clinic (FCC).

Materials and methods: It is a single-centre audit of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of breast carcinoma referred to our FCC from January 2017 to 2020. All patients underwent pretest counselling. Genetic testing was done by multigene panel testing by next-generation sequencing along with reflex multiplication ligation-dependent probe amplification for BRCA1 and 2. The variants were classified based on American College of Medical Genetics guidelines. Demographic and clinicopathological details were extracted from the case record files.

Results: One hundred and fifty-five patients were referred to the FCC and underwent pretest counselling. A total of 99 (63.9%) patients underwent genetic testing. Among them, 62 patients (62/99 = 62.6%) had a germline variant. A pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) germline variant was identified in 41 (41.4%) of the patients who underwent testing. Additional variants of unknown significance (VUS) were identified in seven patients who also carried a P/LP variant. VUS alone was detected in 21 patients (21/99 = 21.2%). Among the P/LP pathogenic variants (PV), BRCA 1 PV were seen in 27 patients (65.8%), BRCA 2 variants in 7 patients (17.1%), ATM variants in 3 patients (7.3%) and RAD51, TP53, CHEK2 and HMMR in 1 patient each. Variants were significantly more common in patients with a family history (FH) of malignancy than those without FH (58.5% versus 29.5%; p = 0.013). Age and triple-negative histology were not found to be significantly associated with the occurrence of P/LP PVs.

Conclusion: We report a 41% P/LP variant rate in our selected cohort of breast cancer patients, with variants in BRCA constituting 83% and non-BRCA gene variants constituting 17%.

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