The risk of extra-colonic, extra-endometrial cancer in the Lynch syndrome

Patrice Watson, Hans F.A. Vasen, Jukka Pekka Mecklin, Inge Bernstein, Markku Aarnio, Heikki J. Järvinen, Torben Myrhoj, Lone Sunde, Juul T. Wijnen, Henry T. Lynch

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448 Scopus citations


Persons with the Lynch syndrome (LS) are at high risk for cancer, including cancers of the small bowel, stomach, upper urologic tract (renal pelvis and ureter), ovary, biliary tract and brain tumors, in addition to the more commonly observed colorectal and endometrial cancers. Cancer prevention strategies for these less common cancers require accurate, age-specific risk estimation. We pooled data from 4 LS research centers in a retrospective cohort study, to produce absolute incidence estimates for these cancer types, and to evaluate several potential risk modifiers. After elimination of 135 persons missing crucial information, cohort included 6,041 members of 261 families with LS-associated MLH1 or MSH2 mutations. All were either mutation carriers by test, probable mutation carriers (endometrial/colorectal cancer-affected), or first-degree relatives of these. Among mutation carriers and probable carriers, urologic tract cancer (N = 98) had an overall lifetime risk (to age 70) of 8.4% (95% CI: 6.6-10.8); risks were higher in males (p <0.02) and members of MSH2 families (p <0.0001). Ovarian cancer (N = 72) had an lifetime risk of 6.7% (95% CI: 5.3-9.1); risks were higher in women born after the median year of birth (p <0.008) and in members of MSH2 families (p <0.006). Brain tumors and cancers of the small bowel, stomach, breast and biliary tract were less common. Urologic tract cancer and ovarian cancer occur frequently enough in some LS subgroups to justify trials to evaluate promising prevention interventions. Other cancer types studied occur too infrequently to justify strenuous cancer control interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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