Characterization of three alternative transcripts of the BRCA1 gene in patients with breast cancer and a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer who tested negative for pathogenic mutations
- Gaetana Gambino
- Mariella Tancredi
- Elisabetta Falaschi
- Paolo Aretini
- Maria Adelaide Caligo
Affiliations: Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa 56126, Italy, Section of Genetic Oncology, Santa Chiara University Hospital, Pisa 56126, Italy, Fondazione Pisana per la Scienza - ONLUS, Pisa 56126, Italy
- Published online on: February 16, 2015 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2015.2103
Copyright: © Gambino
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Commons Attribution License [CC BY_NC 3.0].
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The study of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and their alterations has been essential to the understanding of the development of familial breast and ovarian cancers. Many of the variants identified have an unknown pathogenic significance. These include variants which determine alternative mRNA splicing, identified in the intronic regions and those are capable of destroying the splicing ability. The aim of this study was to detect BRCA1/BRCA2 aberrant transcripts resulting from alternative splicing, in women with a known family history and/or early onset of breast and/or ovarian cancer, tested wild-type for BRCA1 and BRCA2. The identification and characterization of aberrant transcripts through the analysis of mRNA levels in blood lymphocytes may help us to recognize families otherwise misclassified as wild-type BRCA1 and BRCA2. Blood samples were collected from 13 women that had a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer and tested negative for pathogenic mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Total RNA was analyzed for the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 naturally occuring and pathological transcripts using RT-PCR. In 2 out of the 13 samples, 2 alternative transcripts of the BRCA1 gene were identified. These were probably pathogenic as they lacked exon 17 and exon 15, respectively, giving rise to a truncated protein. In addition to these, we identified the Δ17-19 transcript in 1 patient, which gives rise to a protein with an in-frame deletion of 69 amino acids. In conclusion, this study on alternative transcripts of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes revealed the presence of isoforms (prevalence of 15%) in blood samples from women with breast and ovarian cancer that were probably pathogenic, that were not detected by conventional methods of mutation screening based on direct sequencing of all coding regions, intron-exons junctions and MLPA analysis.