Clinical genomic sequencing of pediatric tumors is increasingly uncovering pathogenic variants in adult-onset cancer predisposition genes (aoCPG). Nevertheless, it remains poorly understood how often aoCPG variants are of germline origin and whether they influence tumor molecular profiles and/or clinical care. In this study, we examined the prevalence, spectrum, and impacts of aoCPG variants on tumor genomic features and patient management at our institution.

Experimental Design:

This is a retrospective study of 1,018 children with cancer who underwent clinical genomic sequencing of their tumors. Tumor genomic data were queried for pathogenic variants affecting 24 preselected aoCPGs. Available tumor whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data were evaluated for second hit mutations, loss of heterozygosity (LOH), DNA mutational signatures, and homologous recombination deficiency (HRD). Patients whose tumors harbored one or more pathogenic aoCPG variants underwent subsequent germline testing based on hereditary cancer evaluation and family or provider preference.


Thirty-three patients (3%) had tumors harboring pathogenic variants affecting one or more aoCPGs. Among 21 tumors with sufficient WGS sequencing data, six (29%) harbored a second hit or LOH affecting the remaining aoCPG allele with four of these six tumors (67%) also exhibiting a DNA mutational signature consistent with the altered aoCPG. Two additional tumors demonstrated HRD, of uncertain relation to the identified aoCPG variant. Twenty-one of 26 patients (81%) completing germline testing were positive for the aoCPG variant in the germline. All germline-positive patients were counseled regarding future cancer risks, surveillance, and risk-reducing measures. No patients had immediate cancer therapy changed due to aoCPG data.


AoCPG variants are rare in pediatric tumors; however, many originate in the germline. Almost one third of tumor aoCPG variants examined exhibited a second hit and/or conferred an abnormal DNA mutational profile suggesting a role in tumor formation. aoCPG information aids in cancer risk prediction but is not commonly used to alter the treatment of pediatric cancers.

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