Genomic Features and Classification of Homologous Recombination Deficient Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Talia Golan*, Grainne M. O'Kane, Robert E. Denroche, Maria Raitses-Gurevich, Robert C. Grant, Spring Holter, Yifan Wang, Amy Zhang, Gun Ho Jang, Chani Stossel, Dikla Atias, Sharon Halperin, Raanan Berger, Yulia Glick, J. Patrick Park, Adeline Cuggia, Laura Williamson, Hui Li Wong, David F. Schaeffer, Daniel J. RenoufAyelet Borgida, Anna Dodd, Julie M. Wilson, Sandra E. Fischer, Faiyaz Notta, Jennifer J. Knox, George Zogopoulos, Steven Gallinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), remains poorly defined beyond germline (g) alterations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. Methods: We interrogated whole genome sequencing (WGS) data on 391 patients, including 49 carriers of pathogenic variants (PVs) in gBRCA and PALB2. HRD classifiers were applied to the dataset and included (1) the genomic instability score (GIS) used by Myriad's MyChoice HRD assay; (2) substitution base signature 3 (SBS3); (3) HRDetect; and (4) structural variant (SV) burden. Clinical outcomes and responses to chemotherapy were correlated with HRD status. Results: Biallelic tumor inactivation of gBRCA or PALB2 was evident in 43 of 49 germline carriers identifying HRD-PDAC. HRDetect (score ≥0.7) predicted gBRCA1/PALB2 deficiency with highest sensitivity (98%) and specificity (100%). HRD genomic tumor classifiers suggested that 7% to 10% of PDACs that do not harbor gBRCA/PALB2 have features of HRD. Of the somatic HRDetecthi cases, 69% were attributed to alterations in BRCA1/2, PALB2, RAD51C/D, and XRCC2, and a tandem duplicator phenotype. TP53 loss was more common in BRCA1- compared with BRCA2-associated HRD-PDAC. HRD status was not prognostic in resected PDAC; however in advanced disease the GIS (P = .02), SBS3 (P = .03), and HRDetect score (P = .005) were predictive of platinum response and superior survival. PVs in gATM (n = 6) or gCHEK2 (n = 2) did not result in HRD-PDAC by any of the classifiers. In 4 patients, BRCA2 reversion mutations associated with platinum resistance. Conclusions: Germline and parallel somatic profiling of PDAC outperforms germline testing alone in identifying HRD-PDAC. An additional 7% to 10% of patients without gBRCA/PALB2 mutations may benefit from DNA damage response agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2119-2132.e9
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Homologous Recombination Deficiency
  • Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


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