Research Article| Volume 146, ISSUE 1, P123-128, July 2017

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Multigene panels in Ashkenazi Jewish patients yield high rates of actionable mutations in multiple non-BRCA cancer-associated genes


      • 91% of mutations identified on multigene panel testing were considered actionable.
      • The majority of mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish patients were actionable.
      • The majority of mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish patients were in non-BRCA1/2 genes.



      To evaluate the results of multigene panel testing among Ashkenazi Jewish compared with non-Ashkenazi Jewish patients.


      We reviewed the medical records for all patients who underwent multigene panel testing and targeted BRCA1/2 testing at a single institution between 6/2013–1/2015. Clinical actionability for identified pathogenic mutations was characterized based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines and consensus statements and expert opinion for genes not addressed by these guidelines.


      Four hundred and fifty-four patients underwent multigene panel screening, including 138 Ashkenazi Jewish patients. The median patient age was fifty-two years. Three hundred and fifty-four patients (78%) had a personal history of cancer. Two hundred and fifty-one patients had breast cancer, 49, ovarian cancer, 26, uterine cancer and 20, colorectal cancer. We identified 62 mutations in 56 patients and 291 variants of uncertain significance in 196 patients. Among the 56 patients with mutations, 51 (91%) had actionable mutations. Twenty mutations were identified by multigene panels among Ashkenazi Jewish patients, 18 of which were in genes other than BRCA1/2. A review of targeted BRCA1/2 testing performed over the same study period included 103 patients and identified six mutations in BRCA1/2, all of which occurred in Ashkenazi Jewish patients. Among all Ashkenazi Jewish patients undergoing genetic testing, 25/183 (14%) had a mutation, 24/25 of which were actionable (96%) and 17/25 patients (68%) had mutations in non BRCA1/2 genes.


      With the rapid acceptance of multigene panels there is a pressing need to understand how this testing will affect patient management. While traditionally many Ashkenazi Jewish patients have undergone targeted BRCA1/2 testing, our data suggest consideration of multigene panels in this population as the majority of the results are clinically actionable and often in genes other than BRCA1/2.


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