Somatic genetic alterations in BRCA2-associated and sporadic male breast cancer

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The genetic changes underlying the development and progression of male breast cancer are poorly understood. Germline BRCA2 mutations account for a significant part of male breast cancer, but the majority of patients lack a known inherited predisposition. We recently demonstrated that the progression of breast cancer in female carriers of a germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation follows specific genetic pathways, distinct from each other and from sporadic breast cancer. In the present study, we performed a genome-wide survey by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) of somatic genetic aberrations in 26 male breast cancers, including five tumors from BRCA2 mutation carriers. BRCA2 tumors exhibited a significantly higher number of chromosomal aberrations than sporadic tumors. The most common alterations in sporadic male breast cancer were +1q (38%), +8q (33%), +17q (33%), -13q (29%), and -8p (24%). In tumors from BRCA2 mutation carriers, the five most common genetic changes were +8q (100%), +20q (100%), +17q (80%), -13q (80%), and -6q (60%). The CGH results in these two groups of male breast cancers are almost identical to those identified in the corresponding sporadic and BRCA2-associated female breast cancers. The results suggest that despite substantial hormonal differences between females and males, similar genetic changes are selected for during tumor progression. Furthermore, the presence of a highly penetrant germline BRCA2 mutation apparently leads to a characteristic somatic tumor progression pathway, again shared between affected male and female mutation carriers.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
JournalGenes, Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch