This gene encodes a protein that functions in genome maintenance (double strand break repair). This protein binds to and colocalizes with the breast cancer 2 early onset protein (BRCA2) in nuclear foci and likely permits the stable intranuclear localization and accumulation of BRCA2. PALB2 binds the single strand DNA and directly interacts with the recombinase RAD51 to stimulates strand invasion a vital step of homologous recombination. PALB2 can function synergistically with a BRCA2 chimera (termed piccolo, or piBRCA2) to further promote strand invasion.
Variants in the PALB2 gene are associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer  and PALB2-deficient cells are sensitive to PARP inhibitors. 
PALB2 was recently identified as a susceptibility gene for familial pancreatic cancer by scientists at the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins. This has paved for the way for developing a new gene test for families where pancreatic cancer occurs in multiple family members. Tests for PALB2 have been developed by Ambry Genetics and Myriad Genetics that are now available through a genetic counselor.
Biallelic mutations in PALB2 (also known as FANCN), similar to biallelic BRCA2 mutations, cause Fanconi anemia.
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