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Hum Mol Genet. 1993 Nov;2(11):1799-802.

Androgen receptor gene mutation in male breast cancer.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, INSERM U58, Montpellier, France.


We screened thirteen male breast cancers for the presence of germline mutations in exons 2 and 3 encoding the DNA-binding domain of the androgen receptor. These two exons were amplified from genomic DNA extracted from patients' white blood cells. In one of these thirteen patients, single strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequencing detected a guanine-adenine point mutation at nucleotide 2185 that changes Arg608 into Lys in a highly conserved region of the second zinc finger of the androgen receptor. This mutation occurred in a 38 year old man with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome and normal androgen-binding capacity in cultured genital skin fibroblasts. To our knowledge, only one germline Arg to Gln androgen receptor gene mutation has been previously reported at position 607 in male breast cancer. This androgen receptor mutation along with the Arg608 into Lys mutation we describe, suggests that this genetic abnormality is not fortuitous: a decrease in androgen action within the breast cells could account for the development of male breast cancer by the loss of a protective effect of androgens on these cells. Activation of estrogen regulated genes by the change of DNA-binding characteristics of the mutant androgen receptor cannot, however, be ruled out.

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