Whole‐Exome Sequencing of Germline Variants in Non‐BRCA Families with Hereditary Breast Cancer

Yaxuan Liu, Hafdis T. Helgadottir, Pedram Kharaziha, Jungmin Choi, Francesc López‐giráldez, Shrikant M. Mane, Veronica Höiom, Carl Christofer Juhlin, Catharina Larsson, Svetlana Bajalica‐lagercrantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Breast cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among women worldwide and hereditary breast cancer (HBC) accounts for about 5–10% of the cases. Today, the most recurrent genes known are BRCA1 and BRCA2, accounting for around 25% of familial cases. Although thousands of loss-of‐function variants in more than twenty predisposing genes have been found, the majority of familial cases of HBC remain unexplained. The aim of this study was to identify new predisposing genes for HBC in three non‐BRCA families with autosomal dominant inheritance pattern using whole‐exome sequencing and functional prediction tools. No pathogenic variants in known hereditary cancer‐related genes could explain the breast cancer susceptibility in these families. Among 2,122 exonic variants with maximum minor allele frequency (MMAF) < 0.1%, between 17–35 variants with combined annotation‐dependent depletion (CADD) > 20 segregated with disease in the three analyzed families. Selected candidate genes, i.e., UBASH3A, MYH13, UTP11L, and PAX7, were further evaluated using protein expression analysis but no alterations of cancer‐related pathways were observed. In conclusion, identification of new high‐risk cancer genes using whole‐exome sequencing has been more challenging than initially anticipated, in spite of selected families with pronounced family history of breast cancer. A combination of low‐ and intermediate‐genetic‐risk variants may instead contribute the breast cancer susceptibility in these families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1004
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May
Externally publishedYes


  • bioinformatics
  • germline variants
  • hereditary breast cancer
  • whole‐exome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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