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Cancer Genetics

Genetic Marker for Adenocarcinoma Colon Cancer



Is it possible to identify any particular gene responsible for adenocarcinoma colon dukes b and also know its inheritance pattern? It is a sporadic case. No family history.


This question has been forwarded by Colon Cancer:

Hereditary colon cancer susceptibility is divided roughly into two groups: the polyposis syndromes, which predispose individuals to develop significant numbers of colon polyps (usually on the order of tens to hundreds or thousands of colon polyps); and the non-polyposis syndromes (which predispose individuals to few colon polyps, usually less than 10).  The stage at which the cancer is diagnosed ("Dukes B") has little or nothing to do with whether or not the colon cancer is hereditary, or caused by a mutation in a known gene.

The factors that are much more relevant in order to determine whether a genetic factor may by implicated in the development of cancer are: early age at the time of cancer diagnosis (before age 50, for example), the number of relatives with cancer, and whether cancer is found in multiple generations.

You report that the individual to which you are referring has no family history, although you do not give the age at which this individual was found to have colon cancer or whether a great number of polyps were found.  If cancer was diagnosed prior to age 50, this individual might benefit from a consultation with a genetic specialist to determine whether a more detailed evaluation might be appropriate.  The genetic evaluation with also include information about colon cancer screening guidelines for other members of the family.  So, even though genetic testing might not be appropriate, there is some risk of colon cancer to other family members.


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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University