Article Title

Homologous recombination DNA repair defects in PALB2-associated breast cancers

Abstract

Mono-allelic germline pathogenic variants in the Partner And Localizer of BRCA2 (PALB2) gene predispose to a high-risk of breast cancer development, consistent with the role of PALB2 in homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair. Here, we sought to define the repertoire of somatic genetic alterations in PALB2-associated breast cancers (BCs), and whether PALB2-associated BCs display biallelic inactivation of PALB2 and/or genomic features of HR-deficiency (HRD). Twenty-four breast cancer patients with pathogenic PALB2 germline mutations were analyzed by whole-exome sequencing (WES, n = 16) or targeted capture massively parallel sequencing (410 cancer genes, n = 8). Somatic genetic alterations, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the PALB2 wild-type allele, largescale state transitions (LSTs) and mutational signatures were defined. PALB2-associated BCs were found to be heterogeneous at the genetic level, with PIK3CA (29%), PALB2 (21%), TP53 (21%), and NOTCH3 (17%) being the genes most frequently affected by somatic mutations. Bi-allelic PALB2 inactivation was found in 16 of the 24 cases (67%), either through LOH (n = 11) or second somatic mutations (n = 5) of the wild-type allele. High LST scores were found in all 12 PALB2-associated BCs with bi-allelic PALB2 inactivation sequenced by WES, of which eight displayed the HRD-related mutational signature 3. In addition, bi-allelic inactivation of PALB2 was significantly associated with high LST scores. Our findings suggest that the identification of bi-allelic PALB2 inactivation in PALB2- associated BCs is required for the personalization of HR-directed therapies, such as platinum salts and/or PARP inhibitors, as the vast majority of PALB2-associated BCs without PALB2 bi-allelic inactivation lack genomic features of HRD.

Keywords

breast cancer, cancer genetics, cancer genomics

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41523-019-0115-9

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