Breast cancer among Palestinian women has lower incidence than in Europe or North America, yet is very frequently familial. We studied genetic causes of this familial clustering in a consecutive hospital-based series of 875 Palestinian patients with invasive breast cancer, including 453 women with diagnosis by age 40, or with breast or ovarian cancer in a mother, sister, grandmother or aunt (“discovery series”); and 422 women diagnosed after age 40 and with negative family history (“older-onset sporadic patient series”). Genomic DNA from women in the discovery series was sequenced for all known breast cancer genes, revealing a pathogenic mutation in 13% (61/453) of patients. These mutations were screened in all patients and in 300 Palestinian female controls, revealing 1.0% (4/422) carriers among older, nonfamilial patients and two carriers among controls. The mutational spectrum was highly heterogeneous, including pathogenic mutations in 11 different genes: BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, ATM, CHEK2, BARD1, BRIP1, PALB2, MRE11A, PTEN and XRCC2. BRCA1 carriers were significantly more likely than other patients to have triple negative tumors (p = 0.03). The single most frequent mutation was TP53 p.R181C, which was significantly enriched in the discovery series compared to controls (p = 0.01) and was responsible for 15% of breast cancers among young onset or familial patients. TP53 p.R181C predisposed specifically to breast cancer with incomplete penetrance, and not to other Li-Fraumeni cancers. Palestinian women with young onset or familial breast cancer and their families would benefit from genetic analysis and counseling.
- breast cancer