Oligogenic germline mutations identified in early non-smokers lung adenocarcinoma patients

Alessandra Renieri, Maria Antonietta Mencarelli, Francesco Cetta, Margherita Baldassarri, Francesca Mari, Simone Furini, Pietro Piu, Francesca Ariani, Tommaso A. Dragani, Elisa Frullanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: A polygenic model is commonly assumed for the predisposition to common cancers. With respect to lung cancer, Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have identified three loci at 15q25, 5p15.33, and 6p21. However, the relative risks associated with alleles at these loci are low; in addition, the data are limited to smokers, and have not been quite reproducible. Materials and methods: In order to investigate genetic susceptibility we have adopted an entirely novel patient selection strategy. First, we have selected for adenocarcinoma (ADCA) histology only; second, we have selected non-smokers; third we have selected patients who developed ADCA of lung before the age of 60 and who had an older unaffected sib: we have identified 31 such sib-pairs. Among them, we selected two patients with very early age at disease onset (37- and 49-years old), and having a healthy sibling available for genome comparison older than at least 7 years. Results: On germline DNA samples of four subjects of two such pairs we have carried out whole exome sequencing. Truncating mutations were detected in 8 'cancer genes' in one affected, and in 5 cancer genes in the other affected subject: but none in the two healthy sibs (p= 0.0026). Some of these mutant genes (such as BAG6, SPEN and WISP3) are recognized as major cancer players in lung tumors; others have been previously identified in other human cancers (JAK2, TCEB3C, NELFE, TAF1B, EBLN2), in mouse models (GON4L, NOP58, and RBMX) or in genome-wide association studies (KIAA2018, ZNF311). Conclusions: This study identifies for the first time in non-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma specific sets of germline mutations that, together, may predispose to this tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-174
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Germline variants
  • Lung adenocarcinoma
  • Lung cancer susceptibility
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Oligogenic model
  • Whole-exome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research
  • Medicine(all)


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