Germline BLM mutations and metastatic prostate cancer

Elisa M. Ledet, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, William B. Isaacs, Tamara L. Lotan, Colin Pritchard, A. Oliver Sartor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Biallelic loss-of-function BLM mutations result in Bloom syndrome: a genetic disorder characterized by growth deficiencies, photosensitivity, and multiple cancer susceptibilities. There are conflicting reports about whether or not heterozygous BLM carriers are at a higher risk of various cancers. Without BLM protein functionality, there is evidence of increased sister chromatid exchange and chromosomal instability. Methods: Metastatic prostate cancer patients (N = 796) underwent germline genetic testing as part of routine care at three academic centers. Patients with heterozygous BLM mutations were identified. Tumor tissue was analyzed for somatic alterations in those patients who had a germline pathogenic mutation. Control data using a population sample were extracted from the Genome Aggregation Database. Results: Heterozygous BLM germline mutations in 5 of 796 patients (prevalence, 0.63%). All mutations were loss-of-function truncating alterations. None of the mutations were BLMAsh. The control population (gnomAD) frequency of pathogenic or likely pathogenic BLM mutations was 0.18% (212 of 116 653). The relative risk (RR) of BLM mutations in metastatic prostate cancer patients was 3.4 (95% CI, 1.42-8.33; P <.0062) compared to gnomAD controls. Tumor DNA sequencing in the BLM carriers showed no evidence of somatic BLM mutations. Interestingly, 3 of 5 BLM germline carriers had bi-allelic BRCA2 inactivation evident on tumor sequencing. One patient had both germline and somatic mutations in BRCA2. Excluding the patient with the germline BRCA2 mutation (BLM prevalence, 4 of 796: 0.50%) still yielded a statistically significant finding vs the gnomAD controls (RR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.02-7.39; P <.04). Conclusion: Truncating BLM germline mutations occur at a higher frequency in patients with advanced prostate cancer as compared to control populations. Though no biallelic loss of BLM was no noted in cancers, a surprising number of the BLM germline heterozygotes had pathogenic BRCA2 mutations in their tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-237
Number of pages3
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • BLM
  • BRCA2
  • DNA-repair
  • germline testing
  • metastatic prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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