Catarina Santos

Instituto Português de Oncologia, Oporto, Porto, Portugal

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Publications (15)53.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The majority of pathogenic mismatch repair (MMR) gene mutations detected in Lynch syndrome patients are truncating (frameshift or nonsense). However, the classification of terminal truncating mutations is sometimes difficult and predictive testing based on non-deleterious variants can have very serious consequences. Here, we report eight probands that have two germline nonsense mutations, namely MSH6 c.1030C>T, p.(Gln344Ter) and MSH2 c.2785C>T, p.(Arg929Ter), and one additional patient who presented only the MSH2 mutation previously reported as deleterious. The novel MSH6 truncating mutation was classified as deleterious, as it is predicted to encode a protein with loss of 1017 amino acid residues. The MSH2 mutation, which is expected to encode a protein lacking six amino acid residues, was considered a variant of unknown significance. Five tumors of the eight double-mutant individuals had normal MSH2 expression, whereas MSH6 immunoexpression was lost in all evaluable cases. None of the variants were detected in normal controls or associated with other MMR germline mutations in our series. This study emphasizes that not all truncating mutations are equal and that one must be cautious in the interpretation of the presumed deleterious effect of terminal frameshift or nonsense mutations.Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 8 October 2015; doi:10.1038/jhg.2015.124.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PrCa) is one of the most common cancers diagnosed worldwide and 5-10 % of all cases are estimated to be associated with inherited predisposition. Even though there is strong evidence that the genetic component is significant in PrCa, the genetic etiology of familial and early-onset disease is largely unknown. Although it has been suggested that men from families with hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) and, more recently, with Lynch syndrome may have an increased risk for PrCa, the contribution of these syndromes to PrCa predisposition in families ascertained for early-onset and/or familial PrCa, independently of the presence of other cancers in the family, is uncertain. To quantify the contribution of genes associated with HBOC and Lynch syndromes to PrCa predisposition, we have tested for germline mutations 460 early-onset and/or familial PrCa patients. All patients were screened for the six mutations that are particularly common in Portugal and 38 of them were selected for complete sequencing of BRCA1/2 and/or MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6. Two patients were found to harbor the same MSH2 mutation and a third patient carried a Portuguese BRCA2 founder mutation. None of the alterations were identified in 288 control subjects. Furthermore, we reviewed the 62 PrCa diagnoses in all HBOC (n = 161) and Lynch syndrome (n = 124) families previously diagnosed at our department, and found five other BRCA2 mutation carriers and two additional MSH2 mutation carriers. The clinicopathological characteristics of mutation carriers are in concordance with earlier data suggesting an aggressive PrCa phenotype and support the hypothesis that mutation carriers might benefit from targeted screening according to the gene mutated in the germline.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Familial Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: The HOXB13 germline variant G84E (rs138213197) was recently described in men of European descent, with the highest prevalence in Northern Europe. The G84E mutation has not been found in patients of African or Asian ancestry, which may carry other HOXB13 variants, indicating allelic heterogeneity depending on the population. In order to gain insight into the full scope of coding HOXB13 mutations in Portuguese prostate cancer patients, we decided to sequence the entire coding region of the HOXB13 gene in 462 early-onset or familial/hereditary cases. Additionally, we searched for somatic HOXB13 mutations in 178 prostate carcinomas to evaluate their prevalence in prostate carcinogenesis. Three different patients were found to carry in their germline DNA two novel missense variants, which were not identified in 132 control subjects. Both variants are predicted to be deleterious by different in silico tools. No somatic mutations were found. These findings further support the hypothesis that different rare HOXB13 mutations may be found in different ethnic groups. Detection of mutations predisposing to prostate cancer may require re-sequencing rather than genotyping, as appropriate to the population under investigation.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: We report the analysis of altogether 1050 suspected HBOC families, 524 fully screened for BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations and 526 tested only for the most common mutations. Of the 119 families with pathogenic mutations, 40 (33.6%) had the BRCA2 c.156_157insAlu rearrangement and 15 (12.6%) the BRCA1 c.3331_3334del mutation, the former being specific of Portuguese ancestry and the latter showing a founder effect in Portugal. Interestingly, the two most common mutations were found in a significant proportion of the HBOC families with an a priori BRCAPRO mutation probability <10%. We recommend that all suspected HBOC families from Portugal or with Portuguese ancestry, even those fulfilling moderately stringent clinical criteria for genetic testing, should be specifically analyzed for the two most common BRCA1/BRCA2 founder mutations, and we here present a simple method for this first tier test. Screening of the entire coding regions of BRCA1 and BRCA2 should subsequently be offered to those families with a mutation probability ≥10% if none of those founder mutations are found.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Clinical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary breast/ovarian cancer syndrome is caused by germline deleterious mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. A major problem of genetic testing and counseling is the finding of variants of uncertain significance (VUS). We sought to ascertain the pathogenicity of 25 BRCA1 and BRCA2 VUS identified in Portuguese families during genetic testing. We performed cosegregation analysis of VUS with cancer in families, evaluated their frequency in unaffected controls, and looked for loss of heterozygosity in tumors. In addition, three different bioinformatic algorithms were used (Interactive Biosoftware, ESEfinder, and PolyPhen). Finally, six VUS located in exon-intron boundaries were analyzed by RT-PCR. We found that seven variants segregated with the disease, six variants co-occurred with a pathogenic mutation in the same gene, and four variants co-occurred with a deleterious mutation in the other BRCA gene. By RT-PCR, we observed that four variants (BRCA1 c.4484G>T, BRCA2 c.682-2A>C, BRCA2 c.8488-1G>A, and BRCA2 c.8954-5A>G) disrupted splicing. After the combined analysis, we were able to classify 4 splicing variants as pathogenic mutations, 16 variants as neutral, and 3 variants as polymorphisms; only 2 variants remained classified as VUS. This work highlights the contribution of DNA, RNA, and in silico data to assess the pathogenicity of BRCA1/2 VUS, which, in turn, allows more accurate genetic counseling and clinical management of the families carrying them.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · The Journal of molecular diagnostics: JMD
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether a large genomic rearrangement is actually novel and to gain insight about the mutational mechanism responsible for its occurrence, molecular characterization with breakpoint identification is mandatory. We here report the characterization of two large deletions involving the BRCA1 gene. The first rearrangement harbored a 89 664-bp deletion comprising exon 7 of the BRCA1 gene to exon 11 of the NBR1 gene (c.441+1724_oNBR1:c.1073+480del). Two highly homologous Alu elements were found in the genomic sequences flanking the deletion breakpoints. Furthermore, a 20-bp overlapping sequence at the breakpoint junction was observed, suggesting that the most likely mechanism for the occurrence of this rearrangement was nonallelic homologous recombination. The second rearrangement fully characterized at the nucleotide level was a BRCA1 exons 11-15 deletion (c.671-319_4677-578delinsAlu). The case harbored a 23 363-bp deletion with an Alu element inserted at the breakpoints of the deleted region. As the Alu element inserted belongs to a still active AluY family, the observed rearrangement could be due to an insertion-mediated deletion mechanism caused by Alu retrotransposition. To conclude, we describe the breakpoints of two novel large deletions involving the BRCA1 gene and analysis of their genomic context allowed us to gain insight about the respective mutational mechanism.Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 6 December 2012; doi:10.1038/jhg.2012.137.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: FOXE1 is a transcription factor required for thyroid differentiation and function. FOXE1 locus polymorphisms (chromosome 9q22.33) were recently associated with increased sporadic thyroid cancer risk. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association of FOXE1 variants with nonmedullary thyroid cancer (NMTC), in both sporadic and familial (FNMTC) cases from the Portuguese population. Nine variants located at the FOXE1 locus were sequenced in genomic DNA from 60 FNMTC probands and 80 patients with sporadic NMTC. Alleles were tested for association with thyroid cancer, against 130 healthy matched Portuguese controls. All variants were significantly associated with increased thyroid cancer risk when combining familial and sporadic cases (OR range = 1·62–2·58). In particular, two reported risk variants were associated with the disease: rs965513 (allele A) with familial (OR = 2·30, 95% CI = 1·48–3·59, P = 0·0002) and sporadic (OR = 2·81, 95% CI = 1·87–4·22, P < 0·0001) NMTC and rs1867277 (allele A) with the sporadic (OR = 1·76, 95% CI = 1·18–2·62, P = 0·0052) and combined NMTC cases (OR = 1·70, 95% CI = 1·21–2·40, P = 0·0022). Interestingly, we also identified association of FOXE1 polyalanine tract expansions (>14 alanines) with thyroid cancer risk, in both familial (OR = 2·56, 95% CI = 1·64–4·01, P < 0·0001) and sporadic (OR = 2·44, 95% CI = 1·61–3·68, P < 0·0001) cases. We found compelling evidence of association between FOXE1 variants and thyroid cancer risk in the Portuguese population. To our knowledge, this is the first study supporting the association of this locus with both sporadic and familial NMTC susceptibility.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Clinical Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations play a predictive role in advanced stages of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. We conducted this study in order to assess EGFR status in a Portuguese population and its role in NSCLC patients' outcomes. Patients were submitted to EGFR assessment by high-resolution melting and/or direct sequencing. Kaplan-Meier curve was used to assess overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS). Two hundred forty eight out of 322 participants were assessed for EGFR status. Forty-two patients (16.9 %) presented EGFR-mutated status: one patient (2.4 %) presented exon 18; 21 patients (50 %), exon 19; one patient (2.4 %), exon 20; and 18 patients (45.2 %), exon 21 mutations, p < 0.001. PFS was not assessed (n.a.) for patient with exon 18 mutation, and for the other patients with mutations, it was 7 months (3.96-10.03) (exon 19), <1 month (exon 20), and 7 months (0-14.2) (exon 21) (p = 0.027). Overall survival (OS) was 11 months (exon 18), 11 months (1-18) (exon 19), 1 month (exon 20), and 7.5 months (2-70) (exon 21) (p = n.a). This study suggests that the EGFR mutation is herein observed in a higher proportion than expected for a Caucasian population, and OS is a little less than that published in the literature.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Tumor Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation has so far only been reported in hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) families of Portuguese origin. Since this mutation is not detectable using the commonly used screening methodologies and must be specifically sought, we screened for this rearrangement in a total of 5,443 suspected HBOC families from several countries. Whereas the c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation was detected in 11 of 149 suspected HBOC families from Portugal, representing 37.9% of all deleterious mutations, in other countries it was detected only in one proband living in France and in four individuals requesting predictive testing living in France and in the USA, all being Portuguese immigrants. After performing an extensive haplotype study in carrier families, we estimate that this founder mutation occurred 558 ± 215 years ago. We further demonstrate significant quantitative differences regarding the production of the BRCA2 full length RNA and the transcript lacking exon 3 in c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation carriers and in controls. The cumulative incidence of breast cancer in carriers did not differ from that of other BRCA2 and BRCA1 pathogenic mutations. We recommend that all suspected HBOC families from Portugal or with Portuguese ancestry are specifically tested for this rearrangement.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: The association of a genetic analysis that could improve the diagnostic accuracy of renal cell tumors in biopsy samples would allow better-informed therapeutic decisions. We performed comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) on an ex vivo fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy and a tumor fragment obtained from 75 patients consecutively diagnosed with renal tumors and subjected to radical nephrectomy. The pattern of genomic changes by CGH was used blindly to classify the renal tumors and the genetic findings were subsequently compared with the histopathologic diagnosis. In particular cases, including in two carcinomas with morphologically distinct tumor areas, we performed FISH with several locus-specific probes, and looked for VHL point mutations, exonic rearrangements, or promoter methylation. CGH was successful in 82.7% FNA biopsies and in 96% tumor fragments, with the former allowing genetic diagnosis in 75% of renal cell tumors. The genetic and the initial histological classification differed in two renal neoplasias, but the genetic diagnosis was confirmed after review. The genetic pattern correctly diagnosed 93.5% of clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCC), 61.5% of chromophobe RCC, 100% of papillary RCC, and 14.3% of oncocytomas, with the negative predictive value being 93.9, 90.7, 100, and 90.2%, respectively. The positive predictive value and specificity of copy number profiles was 100%. We demonstrate that genetic diagnosis by CGH on FNA biopsies can improve differential diagnosis in patients with kidney tumors.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Genes Chromosomes and Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Oncogenic point mutations in KIT or PDGFRA are recognized as the primary events responsible for the pathogenesis of most gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), but additional genomic alterations are frequent and presumably required for tumor progression. The relative contribution of such alterations for the biology and clinical behavior of GIST, however, remains elusive. In the present study, somatic mutations in KIT and PDGFRA were evaluated by direct sequencing analysis in a consecutive series of 80 GIST patients. For a subset of 29 tumors, comparative genomic hybridization was additionally used to screen for chromosome copy number aberrations. Genotype and genomic findings were cross-tabulated and compared with available clinical and follow-up data. We report an overall mutation frequency of 87.5%, with 76.25% of the tumors showing alterations in KIT and 11.25% in PDGFRA. Secondary KIT mutations were additionally found in two of four samples obtained after imatinib treatment. Chromosomal imbalances were detected in 25 out of 29 tumors (86%), namely losses at 14q (88% of abnormal cases), 22q (44%), 1p (44%), and 15q (36%), and gains at 1q (16%) and 12q (20%). In addition to clinico-pathological high-risk groups, patients with KIT mutations, genomic complexity, genomic gains and deletions at either 1p or 22q showed a significantly shorter disease-free survival. Furthermore, genomic complexity was the best predictor of disease progression in multivariate analysis. In addition to KIT/PDGFRA mutational status, our findings indicate that secondary chromosomal changes contribute significantly to tumor development and progression of GIST and that genomic complexity carries independent prognostic value that complements clinico-pathological and genotype information.
    Full-text · Article · May 2010 · BMC Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the functional effect of the missense variant c.211A>G (R71G) localized at position -2 of exon 5 donor splice site in the BRCA1 gene and evaluated whether Portuguese and Galician families with this mutation share a common ancestry. Three unrelated Portuguese breast/ovarian cancer families carrying this variant were studied through qualitative and quantitative transcript analyses. We also evaluated the presence of loss of heterozigosity and the histopathologic characteristics of the carcinomas in those families. Informative families (two from Portugal and one from Galicia) were genotyped for polymorphic microsatellite markers flanking BRCA1 to reconstruct haplotypes. Qualitative RNA analysis revealed the presence of two alternative transcripts both in carriers of the BRCA1 R71G variant and in controls. Semi-quantitative fragment analysis and real-time RT-PCR showed a significant increase of the transcript with an out of frame deletion of the last 22nt of exon 5 (BRCA1-Delta22ntex5) and a decrease of the full-length transcript (BRCA1-ex5FL) in patients carrying the R71G mutation as compared to controls, whereas no significant differences were found for the transcript with in frame skipping of exon 5 (BRCA1-Deltaex5). One haplotype was found to segregate in the two informative Portuguese families and in the Galician family. We demonstrate that disruption of alternative transcript ratios is the mechanism causing hereditary breast/ovarian cancer associated with the BRCA1 R71G mutation. Furthermore, our findings indicate a common ancestry of the Portuguese and Galician families sharing this mutation.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Familial Cancer
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the contribution of an Alu insertion in BRCA2 exon 3 (c.156_157insAlu) to inherited predisposition to breast/ovarian cancer in 208 families originated mostly from northern/central Portugal. We identified the c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation in 14 families and showed that it accounts for more that one-fourth of deleterious BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in breast/ovarian cancer families originated from this part of the country. This mutation originates BRCA2 exon 3 skipping and we demonstrated its pathogenic effect by showing that the BRCA2 full length transcript is derived only from the wild type allele in carriers, that it is absent in 262 chromosomes from healthy blood donors, and that it co-segregates with the disease. Polymorphic microsatellite markers were used for haplotype analysis in three informative families. In two of the three families one haplotype was shared for all but two markers, whereas in the third family all markers telomeric to BRCA2 differed from that observed in the other two. Although the c.156_157insAlu BRCA2 mutation has so far only been identified in Portuguese breast/ovarian cancer families, screening of this rearrangement in other populations will allow evaluation of whether or not it is a population-specific founder mutation and a more accurate estimation of its distribution and age.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2008 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first characterisation of the mutational spectrum of the entire coding sequences and exon-intron boundaries of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes as well as large BRCA1 rearrangements in Portuguese families with inherited predisposition to breast/ovarian cancer. Of the 100 probands studied, pathogenic mutations were identified in 22 (24.7%) of 89 breast and/or ovarian cancer families with more than one affected member (15 in BRCA1 and seven in BRCA2), but in none of the 11 patients without family history of cancer. One (6.7%) of the BRCA1 mutations is a large deletion involving exons 11-15. Seven pathogenic point mutations are novel: 2088C>T, 2156delinsCC, and 4255_4256delCT in BRCA1 and 4608_4609delTT, 5036delA, 5583_5584insT, and 8923C>T in BRCA2. The novel 2156delinsCC was identified in three probands from different families and probably represents a founder mutation in our population. We also found a previously reported 3450_3453del4 mutation in three unrelated patients. In addition to the 22 pathogenic mutations, we identified 19 missense mutations of uncertain pathogenic significance, three of them (5241G>C in BRCA1 and IVS6+13C>T and 3731T>C in BRCA2) previously undescribed. The percentage of cases with truncating mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 was higher in breast/ovarian cancer (37.0%, mostly BRCA1) and male breast cancer (40%, all BRCA2) families than in families with only female breast cancer (17.5%). Interestingly, we found evidence for genetic anticipation regarding age at diagnosis of both breast and ovarian cancer in those families presenting affected members in more than one generation. These findings should be taken into consideration while planning screening and prophylactic measures in families with inherited predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2006 · Familial Cancer