Genetics and Colon Cancer

Henry T. Lynch, MD; Hoda Guirgis, PhD; Milton Swartz, MD; Jane Lynch, RN; Anne J. Krush, MS; Arnold R. Kaplan, PhD
Arch Surg. 1973;106(5):669-675. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350170037010.
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This is primarily a genetic study of colon cancer based upon the examination of genealogy and all histologic varieties of cancer in probands and their first-degree relatives in a retrospective study (98 colon cancer probands) and a prospective study (50 colon cancer probands) with carefully matched controls for the prospective series. Results revealed site-specific colon cancer, breast cancer, and multiple primary malignant neoplasms occurring in significant excess amongst first-degree relatives of colon cancer probands in the experimental groups when compared with those in the control group. These observations suggest that a familial factor is etiologic for colon cancer, breast cancer, and multiple primary malignancies in certain families. The mechanism may be gene transmitted, associated with a familial-occurring oncogenous virus, or other nongenetic or familial agent, or a combination of these factors.


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