An evaluation of the challenges to developing tumor BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing methodologies for clinical practice.
de Castro, DG
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Ovarian cancer patients with germline or somatic pathogenic variants benefit from treatment with poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Tumor BRCA1/2 testing is more challenging than germline testing as the majority of samples are formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE), the tumor genome is complex, and the allelic fraction of somatic variants can be low. We collaborated with 10 laboratories testing BRCA1/2 in tumors to compare different approaches to identify clinically important variants within FFPE tumor DNA samples. This was not a proficiency study but an inter-laboratory comparison to identify common issues. Each laboratory received the same tumor DNA samples ranging in genotype, quantity, quality, and variant allele frequency (VAF). Each laboratory performed their preferred next-generation sequencing method to report on the variants. No false positive results were reported in this small study and the majority of methods detected the low VAF variants. A number of variants were not detected due to the bioinformatics analysis, variant classification, or insufficient DNA. The use of hybridization capture or short amplicon methods are recommended based on a bioinformatic assessment of the data. The study highlights the importance of establishing standards and standardization for tBRCA testing particularly when the test results dictate clinical decisions regarding life extending therapies.
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Hum Mutat, 2018, 39 (3), pp. 394 - 405