What the physician needs to know about Lynch syndrome: An update

Henry T. Lynch, Jane F. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer [HNPCC]), is the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC), accounting for 2% to 7% of all CRC cases. The next most common hereditary CRC syndrome is familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which accounts for less than 1% of all CRC. Lynch syndrome is of crucial clinical importance due to the fact that it predicts the lifetime risk for CRC and a litany of extra-CRC cancers (of the endometrium, ovary, stomach, small bowel, hepatobiliary tract, upper uroepithelial tract, and brain) through assessment of a well-orchestrated family history. A Lynch syndrome diagnosis is almost certain when a mutation in a mismatch repair gene - most commonly MSH2, MLH1, or, to a lesser degree, MSH6 - is identified. Once diagnosed, the potential for significant reduction in cancer-related morbidity and mortality through highly targeted surveillance may be profound. Particularly important is colonoscopy initiated at an early age (ie, 25 years) and repeated annually due to accelerated carcinogenesis. In women, endometrial aspiration biopsy and transvaginal ultrasound are important given the extraordinarily high risk for endometrial and ovarian carcinoma. These cancer control strategies have a major impact on at-risk family members once they have been counseled and educated thoroughly about Lynch syndrome's natural history and their own hereditary cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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