Background: A major limitation in counseling unaffected women from families with inherited breast and ovarian cancer is that a "true-negative" interpretation of wild type BRCA analysis of the proband cannot be inferred in the absence of demonstration of a BRCA mutation segregating in the kindred. Documentation of familial BRCA mutations from paraffin-derived DNA of deceased patients has been limited due to reports of technical complications leading to lack of reproducibility of BRCA testing of archival material. Methods: DNA was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) morphologically normal tissue of 161 blinded, coded samples from women previously genotyped for the three Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA founder mutations from lymphocyte-derived DNA. Multiplex PCR followed by denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was performed for the three founder mutations to determine if analysis on FFPE tissue could produce results concordant with those of the lymphocyte-derived DNA. Results: After disclosure of the sample codes, the results were compared with the original lymphocyte-derived DNA genotypes. Excluding one sample unevaluable due to PCR failure, there was 100% concordance of 160 genotypes (120 mutation samples) derived from DNA from archival FFPE tissue compared to peripheral lymphocytes. Conclusions: The method described reliably detected BRCA founder mutations in archival DNA derived from FFPE tissue. These results suggests that this technique may be useful in clinical settings to inform wild type BRCA results of unaffected probands, leading to avoidance of unnecessary intensified surveillance or risk-reducing surgery. With further validation this approach can also be applied to other populations where founder mutations are observed.

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Familial Cancer
Department of Clinical Genetics

Adank, M., Brogi, E., Bogomolniy, F., Wadsworth, M., Lafaro, K., Yee, C., … Offit, K. (2006). Accuracy of BRCA1 and BRCA2 founder mutation analysis in formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue. Familial Cancer, 5(4), 337–342. doi:10.1007/s10689-006-0003-y