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Author Notes:

Britta Weigelt, Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA; Tel +1-212-639-2332; weigeltb@mskcc.org.

Nicholas C. Turner, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital, 237 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JB, UK; Tel +44 207 352 8133; nicholas.turner@icr.ac.uk.

We thank Julie Intrieri (MSKCC) for assistance with the dPCR assays.


Research Funding:

Research reported in this publication was supported in part by Basser Team Science Award by the Basser Center for BRCA, Breast Cancer Now with support from the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Foundation, National Institute for Health Research funding to the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research Biomedical Research Centre, Meredith Israel Thomas Fund, Wooden Nickel Foundation, and a Cancer Center Support Grant of the NIH/NCI (Grant No. P30CA008748).

J.L. Meisel was supported by an American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award (Conquer Cancer Foundation).

S. Piscuoglio is funded in part by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Ambizione grant number PZ00P3_168165), L. Borsu in part by the NIH (P01-CA129243), and J.S. Reis-Filho in part by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Oncology

Diverse BRCA1 and BRCA2 Reversion Mutations in Circulating Cell-Free DNA of Therapy-Resistant Breast or Ovarian Cancer

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Journal Title:

Clinical Cancer Research


Volume 23, Number 21


, Pages 6708-6720

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Purpose: Resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy or PARP inhibition in germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers may occur through somatic reversion mutations or intragenic deletions that restore BRCA1 or BRCA2 function. We assessed whether BRCA1/2 reversion mutations could be identified in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) of patients with ovarian or breast cancer previously treated with platinum and/or PARP inhibitors. Experimental Design: cfDNA from 24 prospectively accrued patients with germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, including 19 patients with platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer and five patients with platinum and/or PARP inhibitor pretreated metastatic breast cancer, was subjected to massively parallel sequencing targeting all exons of 141 genes and all exons and introns of BRCA1 and BRCA2. Functional studies were performed to assess the impact of the putative BRCA1/2 reversion mutations on BRCA1/2 function. Results: Diverse and often polyclonal putative BRCA1 or BRCA2 reversion mutations were identified in cfDNA from four patients with ovarian cancer (21%) and from two patients with breast cancer (40%). BRCA2 reversion mutations were detected in cfDNA prior to PARP inhibitor treatment in a patient with breast cancer who did not respond to treatment and were enriched in plasma samples after PARP inhibitor therapy. Foci formation and immunoprecipitation assays suggest that a subset of the putative reversion mutations restored BRCA1/2 function. Conclusions: Putative BRCA1/2 reversion mutations can be detected by cfDNA sequencing analysis in patients with ovarian and breast cancer. Our findings warrant further investigation of cfDNA sequencing to identify putative BRCA1/2 reversion mutations and to aid the selection of patients for PARP inhibition therapy.

Copyright information:

©2017 AACR.

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