A systematic review of predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants: an analysis of mutational overlap between epithelial cancers

Abstract

Partner and localiser of BRCA2 forms part of a macromolecular complex with BRCA1 and BRCA2, which is critical for the repair of double-strand DNA breaks by homologous DNA recombination. Germline loss-of-function variants in the PALB2 gene may confer an increased lifetime risk of breast, pancreatic, ovarian and other cancers. However, the complete spectrum of predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants associated with each tissue type of cancer remains unknown. A systematic review is performed with the aim of cataloguing predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants in breast, ovary and pancreas cancers. All catalogued predicted pathogenic variants are analysed to assess for overlap and mutational “hotspots” within gene exons. Our results showed that 911 (92.5%) cases were described in breast cancer patients, 49 (5.0%) cases were described in ovarian cancer patients, and 24 (2.4%) cases were described in pancreatic cancer patients. The top five most frequently reported predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants were c.509_510delGA, c.3113G > A, c.1592delT, c.172_175delTTGT, and c.1240C > T, accounting for 57.3% of all cases. Breast and pancreatic cancers share five variants while breast and ovarian cancers share 12 variants. Breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers share eight common variants. Exons with the highest mutation rates were exons 2 (6.7%), 1 (6.3%) and 3 (5.8%). This systematic review provides a quantitative catalogue of predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants described in cancers. This comprehensive analysis of the PALB2 mutational spectrum represents a useful resource for clinicians overseeing PALB2-related cancer surveillance and provides a valuable resource for future PALB2-specific research.

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Acknowledgements

S-S Liau was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Academy of Medical Sciences Tenure-track Clinician Scientist Fellowship (Grant No: G1002543/1), Royal College of Surgeons of England Pump-priming Grant, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Small Research Grant and Pancreatic Cancer UK Research Innovation Award.

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Correspondence to Siong-Seng Liau.

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Janssen, B., Bellis, S., Koller, T. et al. A systematic review of predicted pathogenic PALB2 variants: an analysis of mutational overlap between epithelial cancers. J Hum Genet 65, 199–205 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s10038-019-0680-7

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