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Disease Markers
Volume 15, Issue 1-3, Pages 79-84

BRCA1 1675delA and 1135insA Account for One Third of Norwegian Familial Breast-Ovarian Cancer and Are Associated with Later Disease Onset than Less Frequent Mutations

Åke Borg,1 Anne Dørum,2 Ketil Heimdal,2 Lovise Mæhle,2 Eivind Hovig,3 and Pål Møller2

1Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden
2Unit of Medical Genetics, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, N-0310 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Tumour Biology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, N-0310 Oslo, Norway

Received 9 December 1999; Accepted 9 December 1999

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A total of 845 women from breast-ovarian cancer kindreds were enrolled in a clinical follow-up program for early disease diagnosis; 35 women were prospectively identified with cancer. In order to estimate the role of genetic factors for cancer predisposition in this well-defined set of patients, considered as representative for familial breast-ovarian cancer in the Norwegian population, the BRCA1 gene was investigated for germline mutations. The entire coding region of BRCA1 was analysed using a protein truncation test, direct sequencing and a screen for known large genomic deletions and insertions. Twenty one (60%) of the 35 patients were identified as carriers of 11 distinct BRCA1 mutations. Two previously described founder mutations, 1675delA and 1135insA, were found to account for more than half (11/21) of all BRCA1 cases and for almost one third (11/35) of all breast and ovarian cancers. Supported by a previous population-based analysis of these founder mutations in ovarian cancer, our findings suggest that a significant proportion of women at risk for developing inherited breast and ovarian cancer can be identified. This is particularly obvious in certain geographic regions where these founder mutations are prevalent. Women carrying the two founder mutations had a significantly older age of disease onset as compared to women with other BRCA1 mutations. This observation indicates that BRCA mutation penetrance estimates from populations with strong founder effects may be biased. One reason why some deleterious mutations are allowed to prevail in a population may be coupled to penetrance and the fact that they seldom induce disease in women in child-bearing ages. Eleven out of 12 (92%) breast cancers in BRCA1 mutation carriers were estrogen receptor negative, versus 4 out of 9 (44%) in mutation negative patients (p = 0.03). Histopathological characteristics of the prospectively detected cancers indicated an unfavourable prognosis in mutation carriers.