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J Med Genet. 2018 Dec;55(12):785-793. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2018-105488. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Investigation of clinically relevant germline variants detected by next-generation sequencing in patients with childhood cancer: a review of the literature.

Author information

1
Children's Cancer Research Unit, Kids Research and Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.
2
Eye & Developmental Genetics Research Group, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Children's Medical Research Institute, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.
3
Cancer Centre for Children, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

Genetic predisposition is an important underlying cause of childhood cancer, although the proportion of patients with childhood cancer carrying predisposing pathogenic germline variants is uncertain. This review considers the pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variants reported by six studies that used next-generation sequencing to investigate genetic predisposition in selected cohorts of patients with childhood cancer and used incompletely overlapping gene sets for analysis and interpretation. These six studies reported that 8.5%-35.5% of patients with childhood cancer carried clinically relevant germline variants. Analysis of 52 autosomal dominant cancer predisposition genes assumed common to all six studies showed that 5.5%-25.8% of patients with childhood cancer carried pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variants in at least one of these genes. When only non-central nervous system solid tumours (excluding adrenocortical carcinomas) were considered, 8.5%-10.3% of the patients carried pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variants in at least one of 52 autosomal dominant cancer predisposition genes. There was a lack of concordance between the genotype and phenotype in 33.3%-57.1% of the patients reported with pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variants, most of which represented variants in autosomal dominant cancer predisposition genes associated with adult onset cancers. In summary, germline genetic testing in patients with childhood cancer requires clear definition of phenotypes and genes considered for interpretation, with potential to inform and broaden childhood cancer predisposition syndromes.

KEYWORDS:

clinical genetics; paediatric oncology

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