During the past years, several empirical and statistical models have been developed to discriminate between carriers and non-carriers of germline BRCA1/BRCA2 (breast cancer 1, early onset/breast cancer 2, early onset) mutations in families with hereditary breast or ovarian cancer. Among these, the BRCAPRO or CaGene model is commonly used during genetic counseling, and plays a central role in the identification of potential carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations. We compared performance and clinical applicability of BRCAPRO version 5.1 vs version 6.0 in order to assess diagnostic accuracy of updated version. The study was carried out on 517 pedigrees of patients with familial history of breast or ovarian cancer, 150 of which were submitted to BRCA1/2 mutation screening, according to BRCAPRO evaluation or to criteria based on familial history. In our study, CaGene 5.1 was more sensitive than CaGene 6.0, although the latter showed a higher specificity. Both BRCAPRO versions better discriminate BRCA1 than BRCA2 mutations. This study evidenced similar performances in the two BRCAPRO versions even if the CaGene 6.0 has underestimated the genetic risk prediction in some BRCA mutation-positive families. Genetic counselors should recognize this limitation and during genetic counseling would be advisable to use a set of criteria in order to improve mutation carrier prediction.
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We thank Drs Patrizia Di Fulvio, Paola Scioletti and Stefano Valbonesi for technical support. This work was supported by a grant of the G. d’Annunzio University to LS.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.