29 July 2019

Mutations in the BRCA2 gene may contribute to an increased risk of developing paediatric non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, researchers have reported.

Out of a cohort of more than 1,000 survivors of lymphoma, researchers found 13 with BRCA2 mutations. Although the number is small, it suggests a statistically significant link between BRCA2, known for its role in breast cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The researchers say that their findings, published in JAMA Oncology, adds the disease to the spectrum of cancers linked to BRCA2 mutations.

The study was conducted at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, and involved 815 survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 565 survivors of non-Hodgkin’s disease.

However, because the cohort was made up of lymphoma survivors only, and the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients were all male, further research is needed to confirm the link.

Researcher Dr Zhaoming Wang said: “The BRCA family of genes are known to be linked to risk for breast and ovarian cancer as well as several other types of adult onset cancers, but our study shows a relationship between BRCA2 and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed in childhood.

“This is the second time an inherited BRCA2 mutation has been associated with an increased risk of any primary paediatric or adolescent cancer. BRCA2 recently emerged as an important predisposition gene for childhood-onset medulloblastoma.”

Source: Wang Z, Wilson, C.L., Armstrong, G.T., Hudson, M.M., Zhang, J., Nichols, K.E., Robison, L.L. (2019) “Association of Germline BRCA2 Mutations With the Risk of Pediatric or Adolescent Non–Hodgkin Lymphoma”, JAMA Oncology, available from doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.2203


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