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BackgroundPopulation-based estimates of the risk of breast cancer associated with germline pathogenic variants in cancer-predisposition genes are critically needed for risk assessment and management in women with inherited pathogenic variants.MethodsIn a population-based case-control study, we performed sequencing using a custom multigene amplicon-based panel to identify germline pathogenic variants in 28 cancer-predisposition genes among 32,247 women with breast cancer (case patients) and 32,544 unaffected women (controls) from population-based studies in the Cancer Risk Estimates Related to Susceptibility (CARRIERS) consortium. Associations between pathogenic variants in each gene and the risk of breast cancer were assessed.ResultsPathogenic variants in 12 established breast cancer-predisposition genes were detected in 5.03% of case patients and in 1.63% of controls. Pathogenic variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2 were associated with a high risk of breast cancer, with odds ratios of 7.62 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.33 to 11.27) and 5.23 (95% CI, 4.09 to 6.77), respectively. Pathogenic variants in PALB2 were associated with a moderate risk (odds ratio, 3.83; 95% CI, 2.68 to 5.63). Pathogenic variants in BARD1, RAD51C, and RAD51D were associated with increased risks of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer, whereas pathogenic variants in ATM, CDH1, and CHEK2 were associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Pathogenic variants in 16 candidate breast cancer-predisposition genes, including the c.657_661del5 founder pathogenic variant in NBN, were not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.ConclusionsThis study provides estimates of the prevalence and risk of breast cancer associated with pathogenic variants in known breast cancer-predisposition genes in the U.S. population. These estimates can inform cancer testing and screening and improve clinical management strategies for women in the general population with inherited pathogenic variants in these genes. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.).

Original publication




Journal article


The New England journal of medicine

Publication Date





440 - 451


From Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (C. Hu, S.N.H., R.G., K.Y.L., J.N., J.L., S. Yadav, N.J.B., T.L., J.E.O., C.S., C.M.V., E.C.P., F.J.C.); Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health (H.H., C.G., D.J.H., P.K.), Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University (K.A.B., J.R.P., L.R.), and Brigham and Women's Hospital (H.E.) - all in Boston; Qiagen, Hilden, Germany (R.S., J.K.); Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo (C.B.A., S. Yao), and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York (R.T.) - both in New York; the University of California, Irvine (H.A.-C., A.Z.), Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte (L.B., H.M., S.N., J.N.W.), Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (C. Haiman), and Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford (E.M.J., A.W.K.) - all in California; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, Milwaukee (P.A.), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison (E.S.B., I.M.O., A.T.-D.); the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (E.V.B.); the Behavioral and Epidemiology Research Group, American Cancer Society, Atlanta (B.D.C., S.M.G., M.G., J.M.H., E.J.J., A.V.P.); the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (D.J.H.); the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (C.K., P.A.N.) and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington (S.L.) - both in Seattle; the Epidemiology Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu (L.L.M.); the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, NC (K.M.O., D.P.S., J.A.T., C.W.); Vanderbilt University, Nashville (T.P., S.R.); the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (D.E.G.); and the Department of Medicine and the Basser Center for BRCA, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (S.M.D., K.L.N.).


Humans, Breast Neoplasms, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Odds Ratio, Risk, Case-Control Studies, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Mutation, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Genetic Variation, Young Adult