Research ArticleCANCER

XAF1 as a modifier of p53 function and cancer susceptibility

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Science Advances  24 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 26, eaba3231
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3231


Cancer risk is highly variable in carriers of the common TP53-R337H founder allele, possibly due to the influence of modifier genes. Whole-genome sequencing identified a variant in the tumor suppressor XAF1 (E134*/Glu134Ter/rs146752602) in a subset of R337H carriers. Haplotype-defining variants were verified in 203 patients with cancer, 582 relatives, and 42,438 newborns. The compound mutant haplotype was enriched in patients with cancer, conferring risk for sarcoma (P = 0.003) and subsequent malignancies (P = 0.006). Functional analyses demonstrated that wild-type XAF1 enhances transactivation of wild-type and hypomorphic TP53 variants, whereas XAF1-E134* is markedly attenuated in this activity. We propose that cosegregation of XAF1-E134* and TP53-R337H mutations leads to a more aggressive cancer phenotype than TP53-R337H alone, with implications for genetic counseling and clinical management of hypomorphic TP53 mutant carriers.

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