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Prevalence of BRCA1/BRCA2 pathogenic variation in Chinese Han population


Background Pathogenic variation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA) is one of the most frequent genetic predispositions for hereditary breast cancer. The identification of the variant carriers plays an important role in prevention and treatment of cancer. Despite a population size of 1.4 billion and a quarter million annual new breast cancer cases, knowledge regarding the prevalence of BRCA variation in the Chinese population remains elusive.

Methods In this study, we used BRCA-targeted sequencing and bioinformatics approaches to screen for BRCA variants in 11 386 Chinese Han individuals, including 9331 females and 2055 males.

Results We identified 1209 BRCA variants, 34 of which were pathogenic, including 11 in BRCA1 and 23 in BRCA2. These variants were distributed among 43 individuals (37 females and 6 males), with 13 carrying BRCA1 and 30 carrying BRCA2 variants. Based on these data, we determined a prevalence of 0.38%, or 1 carrier of a BRCA pathogenic variant out of every 265 Chinese Han individuals, and 5.1 million carriers among the Chinese Han population of 1.3 billion.

Conclusion Our study provides basic knowledge about the prevalence of BRCA pathogenic variation in the Chinese Han population. This information should be valuable for BRCA-related cancer prevention and treatment in the population.

  • cancer: breast
  • genetics
  • molecular genetics
  • oncology
  • prevention

Data availability statement

All data generated from the study are available as supplementary tables 1-5.

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