BRCA1 Norway: comparison of classifcation for BRCA1 germline variants detected in families with suspected hereditary breast and ovarian cancer between different laboratories
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFamilial Cancer, 2022. 10.1007/s10689-021-00286-6
Pathogenic germline variants in Breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) predispose carriers to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). Through genetic testing of patients with suspected HBOC an increasing number of novel BRCA1 variants are discovered. This creates a growing need to determine the clinical significance of these variants through correct classification (class 1–5) according to established guidelines. Here we present a joint collection of all BRCA1 variants of class 2–5 detected in the four diagnostic genetic laboratories in Norway. The overall objective of the study was to generate an overview of all BRCA1 variants in Norway and unveil potential discrepancies in variant interpretation between the hospitals, serving as a quality control at the national level. For a subset of variants, we also assessed the change in classification over a ten-year period with increasing information available. In total, 463 unique BRCA1 variants were detected. Of the 126 variants found in more than one hospital, 70% were interpreted identically, while 30% were not. The differences in interpretation were mainly by one class (class 2/3 or 4/5), except for one larger discrepancy (class 3/5) which could affect the clinical management of patients. After a series of digital meetings between the participating laboratories to disclose the cause of disagreement for all conflicting variants, the discrepancy rate was reduced to 10%. This illustrates that variant interpretation needs to be updated regularly, and that data sharing and improved national inter-laboratory collaboration greatly improves the variant classification and hence increases the accuracy of cancer risk assessment.