Whole-exome sequencing and targeted gene sequencing provide insights into the role of PALB2 as a male breast cancer susceptibility gene

Valentina Silvestri, Veronica Zelli, Virginia Valentini, Piera Rizzolo, Anna Sara Navazio, Anna Coppa, Simona Agata, Cristina Oliani, Daniela Barana, Tiziana Castrignanò, Alessandra Viel, Antonio Russo, Maria Grazia Tibiletti, Ines Zanna, Giovanna Masala, Laura Cortesi, Siranoush Manoukian, Jacopo Azzollini, Bernard Peissel, Bernardo BonanniPaolo Peterlongo, Paolo Radice, Domenico Palli, Giuseppe Giannini, Giovanni Chillemi, Marco Montagna, Laura Ottini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare disease whose etiology appears to be largely associated with genetic factors. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 10% of all MBC cases. Thus, a fraction of MBC cases are expected to be due to genetic factors not yet identified. To further explain the genetic susceptibility for MBC, whole-exome sequencing (WES) and targeted gene sequencing were applied to high-risk, BRCA1/2 mutation-negative MBC cases. METHODS: Germ-line DNA of 1 male and 2 female BRCA1/2 mutation-negative breast cancer (BC) cases from a pedigree showing a first-degree family history of MBC was analyzed with WES. Targeted gene sequencing for the validation of WES results was performed for 48 high-risk, BRCA1/2 mutation-negative MBC cases from an Italian multicenter study of MBC. A case-control series of 433 BRCA1/2 mutation-negative MBC and female breast cancer (FBC) cases and 849 male and female controls was included in the study. RESULTS: WES in the family identified the partner and localizer of BRCA2 (PALB2) c.419delA truncating mutation carried by the proband, her father, and her paternal uncle (all affected with BC) and the N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) c.97C>T nonsense mutation carried by the proband's maternal aunt. Targeted PALB2 sequencing detected the c.1984A>T nonsense mutation in 1 of the 48 BRCA1/2 mutation-negative MBC cases. NAT1 c.97C>T was not found in the case-control series. CONCLUSIONS: These results add strength to the evidence showing that PALB2 is involved in BC risk for both sexes and indicate that consideration should be given to clinical testing of PALB2 for BRCA1/2 mutation-negative families with multiple MBC and FBC cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Male breast cancer
  • N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1)
  • Partner and localizer of BRCA2 (PALB2)
  • Whole-exome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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