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Early-onset triple-negative breast cancer in multiracial/ethnic populations: Distinct trends of prevalence of truncation mutations

Young black women are at higher risk of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC); however, a majority of the genetic studies on cancer predisposition were carried out in White populations. The underrepresentation of minority racial/ethnic populations in cancer genetic studies may have led to disproportionate gaps in our knowledge of cancer predisposition genes in these populations. We surveyed the protein-truncating mutations at the exome-wide scale and in known breast cancer predisposition genes among 170 patients of multiple racial/ethnic groups with early-onset (≤age 50) TNBC from two independent cohorts. Black patients, on average, had a higher number of truncating mutations than Whites at the exome-wide level, but fewer truncating mutations in the panel of known breast cancer genes. White TNBC patients showed a strong enrichment of truncating variants in known breast cancer genes, whereas no such enrichment was found among Black patients. Our findings indicate likely more breast cancer disposition genes yet to be discovered in minority racial/ethnic groups, and the current multigene panels may result in unequal benefits from cancer genetic testing.

Authors: Liu Q; Yao S; Zhao H; Hu Q; Kwan ML; Roh JM; Ambrosone CB; Kushi LH; Liu S; Zhu Q

Cancer Med. 2019 04;8(4):1845-1853. Epub 2019-03-12.

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