Germline mutations in breast and ovarian cancer pedigrees establish RAD51C as a human cancer susceptibility gene

Alfons Meindl, Heide Hellebrand, Constanze Wiek, Verena Erven, Barbara Wappenschmidt, Dieter Niederacher, Marcel Freund, Peter Lichtner, Linda Hartmann, Heiner Schaal, Juliane Ramser, Ellen Honisch, Christian Kubisch, Hans E. Wichmann, Karin Kast, Helmut Deiler, Christoph Engel, Bertram Müller-Myhsok, Kornelia Neveling, Marion KiechleChristopher G. Mathew, Detlev Schindler, Rita K. Schmutzler, Helmut Hanenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

478 Scopus citations


Germline mutations in a number of genes involved in the recombinational repair of DNA double-strand breaks are associated with predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. RAD51C is essential for homologous recombination repair, and a biallelic missense mutation can cause a Fanconi anemia-like phenotype. In index cases from 1,100 German families with gynecological malignancies, we identified six monoallelic pathogenic mutations in RAD51C that confer an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. These include two frameshift-causing insertions, two splice-site mutations and two nonfunctional missense mutations. The mutations were found exclusively within 480 pedigrees with the occurrence of both breast and ovarian tumors (BC/OC; 1.3%) and not in 620 pedigrees with breast cancer only or in 2,912 healthy German controls. These results provide the first unambiguous evidence of highly penetrant mutations associated with human cancer in a RAD51 paralog and support the 'common disease, rare allele' hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-414
Number of pages5
JournalNature genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

Cite this

Meindl, A., Hellebrand, H., Wiek, C., Erven, V., Wappenschmidt, B., Niederacher, D., Freund, M., Lichtner, P., Hartmann, L., Schaal, H., Ramser, J., Honisch, E., Kubisch, C., Wichmann, H. E., Kast, K., Deiler, H., Engel, C., Müller-Myhsok, B., Neveling, K., ... Hanenberg, H. (2010). Germline mutations in breast and ovarian cancer pedigrees establish RAD51C as a human cancer susceptibility gene. Nature genetics, 42(5), 410-414.