Frequency of pathogenic germline variants in cancer susceptibility genes in 1336 renal cell carcinoma cases

More about Open Access at the Crick


BACKGROUND: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) occurs in a number of cancer predisposition syndromes but the genetic architecture of susceptibility to RCC is not well defined. We investigated the frequency of pathogenic germline variants in cancer susceptibility genes (CSGs) within a large series of unselected RCC participants. METHODS: Whole genome sequencing data on 1336 RCC participants and 5834 controls recruited to the UK 100000 Genomes Project, a nationwide multicentre study, was analysed to identify rare pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) short variants (SNVs and INDELs) and structural variants in 121 CSGs. RESULTS: Among 1336 RCC participants (mean 61.3 years [±12SD], range 13-88 years; 64% male), 85 participants (6.4%; 95% CI [5.1, 7.8]) had one or more P/LP germline variant in a wider range of CSGs than previously recognised. A further 64 intragenic variants in CSGs previously associated with RCC were classified as a variant of uncertain significance (VUS) (24 'hot VUSs') and were considered to be of potential clinical relevance as further evaluation might result in their reclassification. Most patients with pathogenic variants in well-established RCC-CSGs were aged < 50 years. Burden test analysis for filtered variants in CSGs demonstrated a significant excess of CHEK2 variants RCC European participants compared to the healthy European controls (P = 0.0019). CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 6% of patients with RCC unselected for family history have a germline variant requiring additional follow-up analysis. To improve diagnostic yield we suggest expanding the panel of RCC-CSGs tested to include CHEK2 and all SDHx subunits and raising the eligibility criteria for age-based testing.

Journal details

Volume 31
Issue number 17
Pages 3001-3011
Available online
Publication date

Crick authors

Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author