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NORD is very grateful to Randall W. Burt, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine; Senior Director for Prevention and Outreach, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah and Kory Jasperson, MS, Genetic Counselor, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is a rare inherited cancer predisposition syndrome characterized by hundreds to thousands of precancerous colorectal polyps (adenomatous polyps). If left untreated, affected individuals inevitably develop cancer of the colon and/or rectum. FAP is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and caused by abnormalities (mutations) in the APC gene. Mutations in the APC gene cause a group of polyposis conditions that have overlapping features: familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner syndrome, Turcot syndrome and attenuated FAP.
Classic FAP is characterized by hundreds to thousand of colorectal adenomatous polyps, with polyps appearing on average at age 16 years. Without colectomy, affected individuals usually develop colorectal cancer by the third or forth decade of life. FAP is also associated with an increased risk for cancer of the small intestine including the duodenum,thyroid, pancreas, liver (hepatoblatoma), central nervous system (CNS), and bile ducts, although these typically occur in less than 10% of affected individuals.
Individuals with CNS tumors and colorectal polyposis or cancer have historically been defined as Turcot syndrome. Two-thirds of cases of Turcot syndrome develop from mutations in the APC gene. The remaining cases of Turcot syndrome develop from mutations in the genes that cause hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) also known as Lynch syndrome. Mutations in the APC gene are more commonly associated with medulloblastoma; mutations in the genes that cause HNPCC are more commonly associated with glioblastoma.
Extracolonic manifestations are variably present in FAP, including polyps of the stomach duodenum, small bowel; and osteomas (bony growths), dental abnormalities, congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium (CHRPE), and soft tissue tumors including epidermoid cysts, fibromas and desmoid tumors. About 5% of individuals with FAP experience morbidity and/or mortality from desmoid tumors. The term Gardner syndrome is often used when colonic polyposis is accompanied by clinically obvious osteomas and soft tissue tumors.
Attenuated FAP is a variant of familial adenomatous polyposis. The disorder is characterized by an increased risk for colorectal cancer (although lower risk than classical FAP) but with fewer polyps (average of 30) and later age of onset than is typically seen in classic FAP. Extra-colonic manifestations are also associated with attenuated FAP.
Familial adenomatous polyposis is caused by germline mutations in the APC gene and is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.
Dominant genetic disorders occur when only a single copy or allele of a specific gene is mutated, thereby causing a particular disease. The abnormal gene can be inherited from either parent or can be the result of a new mutation (gene change) in the affected individual. The risk of passing the abnormal gene from affected parent to offspring is 50% for each pregnancy. The risk is the same for males and females.
Familial adenomatous polyposis affects males and females in equal numbers. It occurs in approximately one in 5,000 to 10,000 individuals in the United States and accounts for about 0.5% of all cases of colorectal cancer. One estimate suggests that familial adenomatous polyposis affects 50,000 American families. According to national registries, familial adenomatous polyposis occurs in 2.29-3.2 per 100,000 individuals.
Features of the following disorders can be similar to those of the APC gene-associated polyposis conditions. Comparisons may be useful for a differential diagnosis:
MYH-associated polyposis is an autosomal recessive cancer predisposition syndrome with a colonic phenotype similar to attenuated FAP. Mutations in the MYH gene are associated with this condition.
Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome is an autosomal dominant cancer predisposition syndrome that causes a very high risk for colorectal and endometrial cancer in addition to an increased risk for cancers of the ovary, stomach, small intestine, hepatobiliary tract, upper urinary tract, brain, and skin. Due to the small number of polyps that occur in some individuals with HNPCC and attenuated FAP, differentiating between these two conditions may sometimes be difficult.
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is an autosomal dominant genetic condition characterized by multiple benign hamartomatous polyps (Peutz-Jeghers polyps) in the gastrointestinal system. These polyps occur most often in the small intestine but also occur in the stomach and large intestine. Affected individuals also have dark skin discoloration which often presents in childhood and can be seen around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, mucous membranes of the mouth and perianal area. Affected individuals have an increased risk for intestinal and other cancers. This condition can be distinguished from FAP by clinical features and histology of the polyps. (For more information on this disorder, choose "Peutz-Jeghers" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database)
Juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) is an autosomal dominant genetic condition characterized by a predisposition to gastrointestinal polyps. The term "juvenile" refers to the type of polyp as opposed to the age of onset. Polyps are usually diagnosed by 20 years of age and are usually benign, although malignant transformation can occur. JPS is associated with mutations in the SMAD4 and BMPR1A genes.
Cronkhite-Canada disease is a very rare disease and is characterized by intestinal polyps, loss of taste and hair, and nail growth problems. It is difficult to treat because of malabsorption that accompanies the polyps. Cronkhite-Canada disease occurs primarily in older people (the average age is 59) and it is not believed to have a genetic component. There have been fewer than 400 cases reported in the past 50 years, primarily in Japan but also in the U.S. and other countries (For more information on this disorder, choose "Cronkhite-Canada" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
Classic FAP is diagnosed clinically when an individual has 100 or more adenomatous colorectal polyps (typically occurring by the third decade of life) or fewer than 100 polyps and a relative with FAP. Molecular genetic testing for mutations in the APC gene is available to confirm the diagnosis of FAP and the associated conditions. Younger individuals may have fewer polyps. A diagnosis is made in younger people by the presence of the typical polyps and in immediate relative with FAP or by genetic testing.
Partial or complete removal of the colon (colectomy) is usually recommended for individuals with classical FAP. Sulindac is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) that is sometimes prescribed for individuals with FAP who have had a colectomy to treat polyps in the remaining rectum.
Removal of duodenal polyps is sometimes recommended if they cause symptoms, are large or contain large numbers of abnormal cells (dysplasia).
Desmoid tumors may be treated with surgery, NSAIDs, anti-estrogen medications, chemotherapy and/or radiation depending on the details in each case.
Genetic counseling is recommended for individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis and their at-risk family members. Affected individuals should be screened regularly in order to identify cancerous and pre-cancerous tumors at an early stage.
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van Stolk R, et al., Phase I trial of exisulind (sulindac sulfone, FGN-1 as a chemoprotective agent in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Clin Cancer Res. 2000;6:78-89.
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FROM THE INTERNET
Jasperson KW and Burt, R W. Updated 10/27/11. APC-Associated Polyposis Conditions. In: GeneReviews at Genetests: Medical Genetics Information Resource (database online). Copyright, University of Washington, Seattle. 1997-2011. Available at http://www.genetests.org. Accessed 12/11.
National Cancer Institute: Genetics of Colorectal Cancer http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/colorectal/HealthProfessional/page1
Report last updated: 2011/12/08 00:00:00 GMT+0