With the increasing use of comprehensive germline genetic testing of children and adolescents with cancer, it has become evident that pathogenic variants (PV) in adult-onset cancer predisposition genes (aoCPG) underlying adult-onset cancer predisposition syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome or hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, are enriched and reported in 1% to 2% of children and adolescents with cancer. However, the causal relationship between PVs in aoCPGs and childhood cancer is still under investigation. The best-studied examples include heterozygous PVs in mismatch repair genes associated with Lynch syndrome in children with mismatch repair deficient high-grade glioma, heterozygous PVs in BARD1 in childhood neuroblastoma, and heterozygous PVs in BRCA2 in children with rhabdomyosarcoma. The low penetrance for pediatric cancers is considered to result from a combination of the low baseline risk of cancer in childhood and the report of only a modest relative risk of disease in childhood. Therefore, we do not advise that healthy children empirically be tested for PVs in an aoCPG before adulthood outside a research study. However, germline panel testing is increasingly being performed in children and adolescents with cancer, and exome and genome sequencing may be offered more commonly in this population in the future. The precise pediatric cancer risks and spectra associated with PVs in aoCPGs, underlying cellular mechanisms and somatic mutational signatures, as well as treatment response, second neoplasm risks, and psycho-oncological aspects require further research.

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