BRCA promoter methylation in sporadic versus BRCA germline mutation-related breast cancers

Shoko Vos*, Cathy Beatrice Moelans, Paul Joannes van Diest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: In breast cancer, BRCA promoter hypermethylation and BRCA germline mutations are said to occur together rarely, but this property has not yet been translated into a clinical test. Our aim in this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of BRCA1/2 methylation in distinguishing breast carcinomas of BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation carriers from sporadic breast carcinomas using a recently developed BRCA methylation assay based on methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA). Methods: MS-MLPAs were performed to assess BRCA1 and BRCA2 methylation in breast carcinoma tissues from 39 BRCA1 and 33 BRCA2 germline mutation carriers, 80 patients with sporadic breast cancer, and normal breast tissues from 5 BRCA1 and 4 BRCA2 mutation carriers and 5 nonmutation carriers. Results: Methylation frequencies varied considerably between CpG sites across the BRCA1 and BRCA2 promoters. Some CpG sites were methylated more frequently in BRCA1/2-related than in sporadic carcinomas, whereas other CpG sites were methylated more frequently in sporadic carcinomas, with large variances in sensitivity and specificity as a consequence. Conclusions: The diagnostic value of BRCA promoter methylation analysis in distinguishing BRCA1/2-related from sporadic breast carcinomas seems to be considerably dependent on the targeted CpG sites. These findings are important for adequate use of BRCA methylation analysis as a prescreening tool for BRCA germline genetic testing or to identify BRCAness patients who may benefit from targeted therapies such as poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017


  • BRCA
  • Breast cancer
  • Methylation


Dive into the research topics of 'BRCA promoter methylation in sporadic versus BRCA germline mutation-related breast cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this