DOI: 10.3390/genes15030355 ISSN: 2073-4425

A POT1 Founder Variant Associated with Early Onset Recurrent Melanoma and Various Solid Malignancies

Aasem Abu Shtaya, Inbal Kedar, Lily Bazak, Lina Basel-Salmon, Sarit Farage Barhom, Michal Naftali, Marina Eskin-Schwartz, Ohad S. Birk, Shirley Polager-Modan, Nitzan Keidar, Gili Reznick Levi, Zohar Levi, Tamar Yablonski-Peretz, Ahmad Mahamid, Ori Segol, Reut Matar, Yifat Bareli, Noy Azoulay, Yael Goldberg
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Genetics

POT1 (Protection of Telomeres 1) is a key component of the six-membered shelterin complex that plays a critical role in telomere protection and length regulation. Germline variants in the POT1 gene have been implicated in predisposition to cancer, primarily to melanoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We report the identification of POT1 p.(I78T), previously ranked with conflicting interpretations of pathogenicity, as a founder pathogenic variant among Ashkenazi Jews (AJs) and describe its unique clinical landscape. A directed database search was conducted for individuals referred for genetic counselling from 2018 to 2023. Demographic, clinical, genetic, and pathological data were collected and analyzed. Eleven carriers, 25 to 67 years old, from ten apparently unrelated families were identified. Carriers had a total of 30 primary malignancies (range 1–6); nine carriers (82%) had recurrent melanoma between the ages of 25 and 63 years, three carriers (27%) had desmoid tumors, three (27%) had papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), and five women (63% of female carriers) had breast cancer between the ages of 44 and 67 years. Additional tumors included CLL; sarcomas; endocrine tumors; prostate, urinary, and colorectal cancers; and colonic polyps. A review of a local exome database yielded an allelic frequency of the variant of 0.06% among all ethnicities and of 0.25% in AJs. A shared haplotype was found in all carriers tested. POT1 p.(I78T) is a founder disease-causing variant associated with early-onset melanoma and additional various solid malignancies with a high tumor burden. We advocate testing for this variant in high-risk patients of AJ descent. The inclusion of POT1 in germline panels for various types of cancer is warranted.

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