Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer): Current concepts and approaches to management
- Cite this article as:
- Ricciardiello, L. & Boland, C.R. Curr Gastroenterol Rep (2005) 7: 412. doi:10.1007/s11894-005-0012-2
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Colorectal cancer is among the most frequent causes of cancer death worldwide. An inherited predisposition to cancer of the colon and other organs, Lynch syndrome—also called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer—is probably the most frequent cause of hereditary cancer and is often found in a colon cancer patient and traced through other family members. However, this syndrome is not only characterized by the early onset of colon cancers but also by a predisposition to a constellation of extraintestinal cancers that tend to be misdiagnosed. With new diagnostic technologies, the incidence of familial/inherited versus sporadic cases may appear to increase, due to the recognition of cancers in families that do not fulfill clinical guidelines developed prior to knowledge of the genetic basis of this disease. We now have the ability and the responsibility to detect and prevent this disease, and equally important, to direct patients to specifically targeted treatment. Specialists should be aware of the significance of inherited colon cancer and should become familiar with the molecular diagnostic tests now widely available.