Stefansson, O. A. et al. Genomic profiling of breast tumours in relation to BRCA abnormalities and phenotypes. Breast Cancer Res. 11, R47

Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Vatnsmyrarvegur 16, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Breast cancer research: BCR (Impact Factor: 5.49). 08/2009; 11(4):R47. DOI: 10.1186/bcr2334
Source: PubMed


Germline mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for a considerable fraction of familial predisposition to breast cancer. Somatic mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 have not been found and the involvement of these genes in sporadic tumour development therefore remains unclear.
The study group consisted of 67 primary breast tumours with and without BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormalities. Genomic alterations were profiled by high-resolution (~7 kbp) comparative genome hybridisation (CGH) microarrays. Tumour phenotypes were analysed by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays using selected biomarkers (ER, PR, HER-2, EGFR, CK5/6, CK8, CK18).
Classification of genomic profiles through cluster analysis revealed four subgroups, three of which displayed high genomic instability indices (GII). Two of these GII-high subgroups were enriched with either BRCA1- or BRCA2-related tumours whereas the third was not BRCA-related. The BRCA1-related subgroup mostly displayed non-luminal phenotypes, of which basal-like were most prominent, whereas the other two genomic instability subgroups BRCA2- and GII-high-III (non-BRCA), were almost entirely of luminal phenotype. Analysis of genome architecture patterns revealed similarities between the BRCA1- and BRCA2 subgroups, with long deletions being prominent. This contrasts with the third instability subgroup, not BRCA-related, where small gains were more prominent.
The results suggest that BRCA1- and BRCA2-related tumours develop largely through distinct genetic pathways in terms of the regions altered while also displaying distinct phenotypes. Importantly, we show that the development of a subset of sporadic tumours is similar to that of either familial BRCA1- or BRCA2 tumours. Despite their differences, we observed clear similarities between the BRCA1- and BRCA2-related subgroups reflected in the type of genomic alterations acquired with deletions of long DNA segments being prominent. This suggests similarities in the mechanisms promoting genomic instability for BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated tumours, possibly relating to deficiency in DNA repair through homologous recombination. Indeed, this feature characterized both familial and sporadic tumours displaying BRCA1- or BRCA2-like spectrums of genomic alterations. The importance of these findings lies in the potential benefit from targeted therapy, through the use of agents leading to DNA double-strand breaks such as PARP inhibitors (olaparib) and cisplatin, for a much larger group of patients than the few BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation carriers.

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Available from: Margret Steinarsdottir
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    • "The ninth sample from this group was found to have a relative high TIL immune signature and was therefore not used in follow-up analyses. Copy number analyses on this selection of samples resulted in the identification of many CNAs with frequencies reaching levels of 80e100% for both the BRCA1- mutated and BRCAX BLCs, something which was not observed in previous studies by others (Tirkkonen et al., 1997; Wessels et al., 2002; van Beers et al., 2005; Jonsson et al., 2005; Stefansson et al., 2009; Jonsson et al., 2010; Waddell et al., 2010). Importantly, multiple regions of significant difference between the BRCA1-mutated and BRCAX tumors could now be detected (Figure 2B and C). "
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1-mutated breast carcinomas may have distinct biological features, suggesting the involvement of specific oncogenic pathways in tumor development. The identification of genomic aberrations characteristic for BRCA1-mutated breast carcinomas could lead to a better understanding of BRCA1-associated oncogenic events and could prove valuable in clinical testing for BRCA1-involvement in patients. For this purpose, genomic and gene expression profiles of basal-like BRCA1-mutated breast tumors (n = 27) were compared with basal-like familial BRCAX (non-BRCA1/2/CHEK2*1100delC) tumors (n = 14) in a familial cohort of 120 breast carcinomas. Genome wide copy number profiles of the BRCA1-mutated breast carcinomas in our data appeared heterogeneous. Gene expression analyses identified varying amounts of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) as a major cause for this heterogeneity. Indeed, selecting tumors with relative low amounts of TILs, resulted in the identification of three known but also five previously unrecognized BRCA1-associated copy number aberrations. Moreover, these aberrations occurred with high frequencies in the BRCA1-mutated tumor samples. Using these regions it was possible to discriminate BRCA1-mutated from BRCAX breast carcinomas, and they were validated in two independent cohorts. To further substantiate our findings, we used flow cytometry to isolate cancer cells from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, BRCA1-mutated triple negative breast carcinomas with estimated TIL percentages of 40% and higher. Genomic profiles of sorted and unsorted fractions were compared by shallow whole genome sequencing and confirm our findings. This study shows that genomic profiling of in particular basal-like, and thus BRCA1-mutated, breast carcinomas is severely affected by the presence of high numbers of TILs. Previous reports on genomic profiling of BRCA1-mutated breast carcinomas have largely neglected this. Therefore, our findings have direct consequences on the interpretation of published genomic data. Also, these findings could prove valuable in light of currently used genomic tools for assessing BRCA1-involvement in breast cancer patients and pathogenicity assessment of BRCA1 variants of unknown significance. The BRCA1-associated genomic aberrations identified in this study provide possible leads to a better understanding of BRCA1-associated oncogenesis. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Molecular Oncology
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    • "Given the difficulty in measuring weakly expressed genes it is not surprising that previously reported BRCA2 gene expression signatures did not highlight deletion of chromosomes 13 and 14 as a potential discriminating factor [19], [20]. In contrast, deletion of these regions was noted in several previous DNA copy number and SNP studies [7], [21]–[25]. In addition to published studies, we examined the GISTIC database (Tumorscape Release 1.6) [26] to determine whether loss of chromosomes 13 and 14 is a common event in breast cancer. "
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    ABSTRACT: Germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations account for 20-30% of familial clustering of breast cancer. The main indication for BRCA2 screening is currently the family history but the yield of mutations identified in patients selected this way is low. To develop more efficient approaches to screening we have compared the gene expression and genomic profiles of BRCA2-mutant breast tumors with those of breast tumors lacking BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. We identified a group of 66 genes showing differential expression in our training set of 7 BRCA2-mutant tumors and in an independent validation set of 19 BRCA2-mutant tumors. The differentially expressed genes include a prominent cluster of genes from chromosomes 13 and 14 whose expression is reduced. Gene set enrichment analysis confirmed that genes in specific bands on 13q and 14q showed significantly reduced expression, suggesting that the affected bands may be preferentially deleted in BRCA2-mutant tumors. Genomic profiling showed that the BRCA2-mutant tumors indeed harbor deletions on chromosomes 13q and 14q. To exploit this information we have created a simple fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test and shown that it detects tumors with deletions on chromosomes 13q and 14q. Together with previous reports, this establishes that deletions on chromosomes 13q and 14q are a hallmark of BRCA2-mutant tumors. We propose that FISH to detect these deletions would be an efficient and cost-effective first screening step to identify potential BRCA2-mutation carriers among breast cancer patients without a family history of breast cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "These authors contributed equally to this work. Received 27 June 2012; revised 5 September 2012; accepted 7 September 2012; published online 9 October 2012 changes have been reported to be associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations (Stefansson et al, 2009; Holstege et al, 2010). This study examines the association between genomic patterns of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and HR deficiency. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Defects in BRCA1, BRCA2, and other members of the homologous recombination pathway have potential therapeutic relevance when used to support agents that introduce or exploit double-stranded DNA breaks. This study examines the association between homologous recombination defects and genomic patterns of loss of heterozygosity (LOH). METHODS: Ovarian tumours from two independent data sets were characterised for defects in BRCA1, BRCA2, and RAD51C, and LOH profiles were generated. Publically available data were downloaded for a third independent data set. The same analyses were performed on 57 cancer cell lines. RESULTS: Loss of heterozygosity regions of intermediate size were observed more frequently in tumours with defective BRCA1 or BRCA2 (P=10�-11). The homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) score was defined as the number of these regions observed in a tumour sample. The association between HRD score and BRCA deficiency was validated in two independent ovarian cancer data sets (P=10-�5 and 10�-29), and identified breast and pancreatic cell lines with BRCA defects. CONCLUSION: The HRD score appears capable of detecting homologous recombination defects regardless of aetiology or mechanism. This score could facilitate the use of PARP inhibitors and platinum in breast, ovarian, and other cancers.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · British Journal of Cancer
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