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Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2002 Apr 1;134(1):25-32.

Elevated frequency of ATM gene missense mutations in breast cancer relative to ethnically matched controls.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


Studies of families of patients with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) show an increased risk of breast cancer in heterozygous A-T carriers. However, expected increased levels of mutations in the ATM gene among unselected breast cancer patients have not been found to date. Previous methods of mutation detection were biased toward the detection of truncating mutations, and single nucleotide substitutions were likely to have been underreported. In this study, genomic DNA from 43 breast cancer patients and 43 control individuals were scanned for mutations in the entire ATM coding region (exons 4-65) and adjacent intronic splice regions (three megabases total) using detection of virtually all mutation-single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP), a modification of SSCP with sufficient redundancy to detect virtually all mutations. Excluding a polymorphism found commonly in cases and controls, there were missense changes in 12 breast cancer patients, one of whom also had a protein truncating mutation, versus six controls (P=0.09). When all structural changes common to the cases and controls were excluded, missense or truncating changes were found in 10 cases compared to two in controls (P=0.013). The background of missense changes in controls is high. There is a trend towards elevation of all structural changes in cases, but the results are not statistically significant. Cohort-specific structural changes are significantly more prevalent in the breast cancer patients. The data are compatible with certain missense mutations in ATM predisposing to breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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