Research Article| Volume 152, ISSUE 3, P612-617, March 2019

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Women with breast and uterine cancer are more likely to harbor germline mutations than women with breast or uterine cancer alone: A case for expanded gene testing

Published:January 03, 2019DOI:


      • Germline mutations are more frequent among women with breast and uterine cancer compared to women with either cancer alone.
      • Genes most frequently mutated in women with breast and uterine cancer have published management guidelines that impact care.
      • Multigene panel testing is warranted for women with breast and uterine cancer.



      We explored the germline mutation spectrum and prevalence among 1650 women with breast and uterine cancer (BUC) who underwent multi-gene hereditary cancer panel testing at a single commercial laboratory.


      The combined frequency of mutations in 23 BC and/or UC genes was compared between BUC cases and control groups with (1) no personal cancer history; (2) BC only; and (3) UC only using logistic regression.


      Fourteen percent (n = 231) of BUC cases tested positive for mutations in BC and/or UC genes and were significantly more likely to test positive than individuals with BC only (P < 0.001), UC only (P < 0.01), or unaffected controls (P < 0.001). Analysis of gene-specific mutation frequencies revealed that MSH6, CHEK2, BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, PMS2, PALB2 and MSH2 were most frequently mutated among BUC cases. Compared to BC only, BRCA1, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 and PTEN mutations were more frequent among BUC; however, only ATM mutations were more frequent among BUC compared to UC only. All of the more commonly mutated genes have published management guidelines to guide clinical care. Of patients with a single mutation in a gene with established testing criteria (n = 152), only 81.6% met their respective criteria, and 65.8% met criteria for multiple syndromes.


      Women with BUC are more likely to carry hereditary cancer gene mutations than women with breast or uterine cancer alone, potentially warranting expanded genetic testing for these women. Most mutations found via multi-gene panel testing in women with BUC have accompanying published management guidelines and significant implications for clinical care.
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