Inherited genetic risk factors contribute towards breast cancer (BC) onset. BC risk variants can be divided into three categories of penetrance (high, moderate, and low) that reflect the probability of developing the disease. Traditional BC susceptibility gene discovery approaches that searched for high and moderate risk variants in familial BC cases have had limited success; to date, these risk variants explain only ∼30% of familial BC cases. Next-generation sequencing technologies can be used to search for novel high and moderate BC risk variants, and this manuscript reviews 12 familial BC whole-exome sequencing efforts. Study design, filtering strategies, and segregation and validation analyses are discussed. Overall, only a modest number of novel BC risk genes were identified, and 94% and 97% of the exome-sequenced families and cases, respectively, had no BC risk variants reported. It is important to learn from these studies and consider alternate strategies in order to make further advances. The discovery of new BC susceptibility genes is critical for improved risk assessment and to provide insight towards disease mechanisms for the development of more effective therapies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.