The missing heritability of breast cancer could be partially attributed to rare variants (MAF < 0.5%). To identify breast cancer-associated rare coding variants, we conducted whole-exome sequencing (~50×) in genomic DNA samples obtained from 831 breast cancer cases and 839 controls of Chinese females. Using burden tests for each gene that included rare missense or predicted deleterious variants, we identified 29 genes showing promising associations with breast cancer risk. We replicated the association for two genes, OGDHL and BRCA2, at a Bonferroni-corrected p < 0.05, by genotyping an independent set of samples from 1,628 breast cancer cases and 1,943 controls. The association for OGDHL was primarily driven by three predicted deleterious variants (p.Val827Met, p.Pro839Leu, p.Phe836Ser; p < 0.01 for all). For BRCA2, we characterized a total of 27 disruptive variants, including 18 nonsense, six frameshift and three splicing variants, whereas they were only detected in cases, but none of the controls. All of these variants were either very rare (AF < 0.1%) or not detected in >4,500 East Asian women from the genome Aggregation database (gnomAD), providing additional support to our findings. Our study revealed a potential novel gene and multiple disruptive variants of BRCA2 for breast cancer risk, which may identify high-risk women in Chinese populations.
© 2019 UICC.