X chromosome inactivation pattern in BRCA gene mutation carriers

Siranoush Manoukian, Paolo Verderio, Silvia Tabano, Patrizia Colapietro, Sara Pizzamiglio, Francesca R. Grati, Mariarosaria Calvello, Bernard Peissel, John Burn, Valeria Pensotti, Claudia Allemani, Silva M. Sirchia, Paolo Radice, Monica Miozzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An association of preferential X chromosome inactivation (XCI) with BRCA gene status and breast/ovarian cancer risk has been reported. We evaluated XCI in a large group of BRCA mutation carriers compared to non-carriers and investigated associations between preferential XCI (≥90:10) and age, mutated gene, cancer development and chemotherapy. XCI was analysed by human androgen receptor (HUMARA) assay and pyrosequencing in 437 BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers and 445 age-matched controls. The distribution of XCI patterns in the two groups was compared by logistic regression analysis. The association between preferential XCI and selected variables was investigated in both univariate and multivariate fashion. In univariate analyses preferential XCI was not significantly associated with the probability of being a BRCA mutation carrier, nor with cancer status, whereas chemotherapeutic regime and age both showed a significant association. In multivariate analysis only age maintained significance (odds ratio, 1.056; 95% confidence interval, 1.016-1.096). Our findings do not support the usefulness of XCI analysis for the identification of BRCA mutation carriers and cancer risk assessment. The increasing preferential XCI frequency with ageing and the association with chemotherapy justify extending the investigation to other categories of female cancer patients to identify possible X-linked loci implicated in cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136-1141
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Ageing
  • BRCA genes
  • Chemotherapy
  • HUMARA test
  • X chromosome inactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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