Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer: identification of mutation carriers and assessing pathogenicity of mutations.

Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also referred to as Lynch syndrome, is an autosomal dominantly inherited disorder that is characterized by susceptibility to colorectal cancer and extracolonic malignancies, in particular endometrial cancer. HNPCC is caused by pathogenic mutations in the mismatch repair (MMR) genes, which play an important role in maintaining genomic stability during DNA replication. Identification of MMR gene mutation carriers is important as this enables them to enrol in surveillance programmes, thus reducing their risk of cancer and increasing survival. Clinical criteria as well as non-clinical criteria have been formulated to select patients for mutation analysis. In this paper we review the approaches used to select patients for mutation analysis. Mutation analysis in the MMR genes may yield mutations of which the pathogenic nature is unclear. Criteria to determine the pathogenicity of such variants are discussed, as well as differences in design of functional assays to assess pathogenicity.

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