Introduction: Germline pathogenic variants in genes in the homologous recombination (HR) pathway such as BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, PALB2, RAD51C and RAD51D confer an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Screening for germline variants in these cancer susceptibility genes is critical as prophylactic measures and monitoring can be performed in these individuals to minimize their risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancers. More recently, it has been recognized that cancers arising in carriers of germline pathogenic (P)/ likely pathogenic (LP) variants in HR genes often show a homologous recombination (HR) deficient (HRD) phenotype and can be targeted with platinum agents or PARP inhibitors. RAD51B is a RAD51 paralog that binds to RAD51C and functions as a heterodimer in the HR pathway. Whilst RAD51B germline variants have been reported in isolated cases of breast and ovarian cancers, it is unclear as to whether RAD51B P/LP germline variants would confer predisposition to these cancer types. Materials and Methods: We screened 9,287 consecutive unselected cancer patients who consented for both tumor and germline testing using the MSK-IMPACT platform for the presence of RAD51B germline truncating variants. Selected RAD51B germline mutant breast cancers identified by MSK-IMPACT were subjected to whole-exome sequencing (WES) analysis to determine the dominant mutational signatures using DeconstructSigs. Functional assays were performed to ascertain the impact of RAD51B loss on HR DNA repair and PARP inhibitor sensitivity using genome editing methods in non-malignant breast epithelial cell lines. Results: Out of the 9,287 cancer patients, we detected likely pathogenic loss of function RAD51B germline variants in 11 patients (0.12%), which was similar to the frequency detected in the gnomAD database (0.09%). All female carriers of RAD51B loss of function variants (n=8) had breast or ovarian cancers (8/1,619 breast or ovarian cancers, 0.5%). The observed carrier frequencies of germline truncating variants in RAD51B was statistically enriched in breast and ovarian cancer patients compared to individuals in the gnomAD database (0.5% vs 0.09% P=0.0003; odds ratio = 5.06 (95% CI: 2.1-10.3)). Although segregation studies were not available, 9/11 of the RAD51B germline loss of function variant carriers had a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancers. All five breast and ovarian cancers from RAD51B mutation carriers investigated by WES were found to harbor RAD51B bi-allelic inactivation through loss of heterozygosity of the RAD51B wild-type allele. In addition, these five cases were found to display genomic features of HRD including high large-scale state transition scores and a dominant mutational signature 3. CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing of RAD51B in a non-malignant breast epithelial cell model revealed that RAD51B deficient cells display PARP inhibitor sensitivity similar to that reported in BRCA1 and BRCA2 deficient cell lines. Conclusion: RAD51B loss-of-function germline variants confer susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer development. Breast and ovarian cancers occurring in the context of RAD51B germline mutations harbor bi-allelic inactivation of RAD51B through loss-of-heterozygosity of the wild-type allele, genomic features of HRD and are likely sensitive to PARP inhibition. Albeit rarely germline mutated, RAD51B should be considered as an addition to clinical germline testing panels for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome patients. <!–EndFragment→
Citation Format: Diana SReis-FilhoReis-Filho Mandelker, Semanti Mukherjee, Jeremy Setton, Pier Selenica, Yelena Kemel, Ozge Ceyhan-Birsoy, Margaret Sheehan, Kaitlyn Tkachuk, David N Brown, Simon Powell, Britta Weigelt, Mark E Robson, Nadeem Riaz, Kenneth Offit, Jorge S Reis-Filho. RAD51B loss-of-function variants confer susceptibility to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers and result in tumors with genomic features of homologous recombination repair defects [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2019 Dec 10-14; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2020;80(4 Suppl):Abstract nr P6-09-01.