Lynch syndrome's mutated genes raise risk of cancers

People with Lynch syndrome have an increased risk of colon, uterus, ovary, kidney, stomach, bowel and bladder cancers — thanks to genetic mutation, reveals a research.

Researchers also found those with Lynch syndrome faced a moderately increased risk of developing breast and pancreatic cancers. The finding could lead to earlier detection of a wide range of cancers in sufferers.

Led by Aung Ko Win and Mark Jenkins, associate professor at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population Health, the study followed 450 people with a mutation in one of the four mismatch repair genes tied with Lynch syndrome, and more than 1,000 of their relatives who were not carriers of these mutations.

“Our study revealed that these people have an average risk of developing cancer as opposed to the high risk of their mutation-carrying close relatives and hence do not need to worry unnecessarily and over screen to detect cancer,” said Jenkins. Participants in the study were evaluated every five years at recruitment centres affiliated with the Colon Cancer Family Registry in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US,  the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports.

After five years, those with Lynch syndrome had a 20-fold greater risk of colorectal cancer; a 30-fold greater risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer; a 19-fold higher risk of ovarian cancer; an 11-fold greater risk of kidney cancer; a 10-fold greater risk of pancreatic, stomach, and bladder cancers; and a four-fold greater risk of breast cancer.

People with Lynch syndrome also tended to be diagnosed with these cancers at an earlier age than people in the general population. The researchers said their findings regarding breast cancer were unexpected, according to a Melbourne statement.

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