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Germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most penetrating genetic predispositions for breast and ovarian cancer, and their presence is largely ethnic-specific. Comprehensive information about the prevalence and spectrum of BRCA mutations has been collected in European and North American populations. However, similar information is lacking in other populations, including the mainland Chinese population despite its large size of 1.4 billion accounting for one fifth of the world's population. Herein, we performed an extensive literature analysis to collect BRCA variants identified from mainland Chinese familial breast and ovarian cancer patients. We observed 137 distinct BRCA1 variants in 409 of 3,844 and 80 distinct BRCA2 variants in 157 of 3,024 mainland Chinese patients, with an estimated prevalence of 10.6% for BRCA1 and 5.2% for BRCA2. Of these variants, only 40.3% in BRCA1 and 42.5% in BRCA2 are listed in current Breast Cancer Information Core database. We observed higher frequent variation in BRCA1 exons 11A, 11C, 11D, and 24 and BRCA2 exon 10 in Chinese patients than in the patients of other populations. The most common pathogenic variant in BRCA1 wasc.981_982delAT in exon 11A, and in BRCA2 c.3195_3198delTAAT in exon 11B and c.5576_5579delTTAA in exon 11E; the most common novel variant in BRCA1 was c.919A>G in exon 10A, and in BRCA2 c.7142delC in exon 14. None of the variants overlap with the founder mutations in other populations. Our analysis indicates that the prevalence of BRCA variation in mainland Chinese familial breast and ovarian cancer patients is at a level similar to but the spectrum is substantially different from the ones of other populations.



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