Determination of molecular markers for BRCA1 and BRCA2 heterozygosity using gene expression profiling

Asher Y. Salmon, Mali Salmon-Divon, Tamar Zahavi, Yulia Barash, Rachel S. Levy-Drummer, Jasmine Jacob-Hirsch, Tamar Peretz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Approximately 5% of all breast cancers can be attributed to an inherited mutation in one of two cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.Wesearched for genes that have the potential to distinguish healthy BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers from noncarriers based on differences in expression profiling. Using expression microarrays, we compared gene expression of irradiated lymphocytes from BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers versus control noncarriers. We identified 137 probe sets in BRCA1 carriers and 1,345 in BRCA2 carriers with differential gene expression. Gene Ontology analysis revealed that most of these genes relate to regulation pathways of DNA repair processes, cell-cycle regulation, and apoptosis. Real-time PCR was conducted on the 36 genes, which were most prominently differentially expressed in the microarray assay; 21 genes were shown to be significantly differentially expressed in BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation carriers as compared with controls (P < 0.05). On the basis of a validation study with 40 mutation carriers and 17 noncarriers, a multiplex model that included six or more coincidental genes of 18 selected genes was constructed to predict the risk of carrying a mutation. The results using this model showed sensitivity 95% and specificity 88%. In summary, our study provides insight into the biologic effect of heterozygous mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in response to ionizing irradiation-induced DNA damage. We also suggest a set of 18 genes that can serve as a prediction and screening tool for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutational carriers by using easily obtained lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


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