Hereditary Colorectal Cancer

  • James Church


Colorectal cancer is both a genetic and epigenetic disease. It arises because of an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities that perturb gene expression and lead to carcinogenesis within the colorectal mucosa. The classes of genes primarily involved are largely those concerned with regulation of cell growth: tumor suppressor genes and proto-oncogenes, and the average sporadic colorectal cancer has accumulated 90 different mutations.1 Most mutations occur because of the environment. However, about one third of colorectal cancers have a hereditary component. Hereditary colorectal cancer is important because members of affected families can be identified as high risk and be advised to have early, intensive surveillance or even prophylactic surgery, because of the complex, multidisciplinary care the families need, and because of what it teaches about the biology of sporadic colorectal cancer. In this chapter, the syndromes of hereditary colorectal cancer are reviewed.



This chapter was previously authored by Robin K.S. Phillips and Susann K. Clark (separate ­chapter) and Lawrence C. Rusin and Susan Galandiuk ­(separate ­chapter) in the first edition. The two chapters were merged for this second edition.


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Copyright information

© ASCRS (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Church
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Colorectal SurgeryDigestive Diseases Institute, Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA

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