Breast carcinoma is the most common malignancy among women in developed countries. Because family history remains the strongest single predictor of breast cancer risk, attention has focused on the role of highly penetrant, dominantly inherited genes in cancer-prone kindreds. BRCA1 was localized to chromosome 17 through analysis of a set of high-risk kindreds, and then identified four years later by a positional cloning strategy. BRCA2 was mapped to chromosomal 13q at about the same time. Just fifteen months later, Wooster et al. reported a partial BRCA2 sequence and six mutations predicted to cause truncation of the BRCA2 protein. While these findings provide strong evidence that the identified gene corresponds to BRCA2, only two thirds of the coding sequence and 8 out of 27 exons were isolated and screened; consequently, several questions remained unanswered regarding the nature of BRCA2 and the frequency of mutations in 13q-linked families. We have now determined the complete coding sequence and exonic structure of BRCA2 (GenBank accession U43746), and examined its pattern of expression. Here, we provide sequences for a set of PCR primers sufficient to screen the entire coding sequence of BRCA2 using genomic DNA. We also report a mutational analysis of BRCA2 in families selected on the basis of linkage analysis and/or the presence of one or more cases of male breast cancer. Together with the specific mutations described previously, our data provide preliminary insight into the BRCA2 mutation profile.
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