We report the spectrum of 59 ATM mutations observed in ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) patients in the British Isles. Of 51 ATM mutations identified in families native to the British Isles, 11 were founder mutations, and 2 of these 11 conferred a milder clinical phenotype with respect to both cerebellar degeneration and cellular features. We report, in two A-T families, an ATM mutation (7271T-->G) that may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in both homozygotes and heterozygotes (relative risk 12.7; P=. 0025), although there is a less severe A-T phenotype in terms of the degree of cerebellar degeneration. This mutation (7271T-->G) also allows expression of full-length ATM protein at a level comparable with that in unaffected individuals. In addition, we have studied 18 A-T patients, in 15 families, who developed leukemia, lymphoma, preleukemic T-cell proliferation, or Hodgkin lymphoma, mostly in childhood. A wide variety of ATM mutation types, including missense mutations and in-frame deletions, were seen in these patients. We also show that 25% of all A-T patients carried in-frame deletions or missense mutations, many of which were also associated with expression of mutant ATM protein.
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