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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Lynch syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • COCA1
  • Colon cancer, familial nonpolyposis
  • Colorectal cancer, hereditary nonpolyposis
  • Familial nonpolyposis colon cancer
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer
More Names
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Overview



What is Lynch syndrome?

What causes Lynch syndrome?

Is Lynch syndrome an inherited condition?

How is Lynch syndrome diagnosed?


What is Lynch syndrome?

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that causes an increased risk of developing cancer. Individuals with Lynch syndrome have a higher risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, as well as cancers of the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder ducts, upper urinary tract, brain, skin, and prostate. Women with Lynch syndrome also have a high risk of developing uterine cancer (also called endometrial cancer) and ovarian cancer. Even though the disorder was originally described as not involving noncancerous (benign) growths (polyps) in the colon, people with Lynch syndrome may occasionally have colon polyps. Lynch syndrome has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance and is caused by a mutation in the MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 or EPCAM gene.[1][2]
Last updated: 10/18/2013

What causes Lynch syndrome?

Lynch syndrome is caused by mutations in at least 5 genes (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 or  EPCAM). All of these genes are involved in the repair of mistakes made when DNA is copied (DNA replication) in preparation for cell division. Mutations in any of these genes prevent the proper repair of DNA replication mistakes. As the abnormal cells continue to divide, the accumulated mistakes can lead to uncontrolled cell growth and possibly cancer. Although mutations in these genes predispose individuals to cancer, not all people who carry these mutations develop cancerous tumors.[1][2]
Last updated: 10/23/2012

Is Lynch syndrome an inherited condition?

Lynch syndrome cancer risk is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one inherited copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to increase cancer risk. It is important to note that people inherit an increased risk of cancer, not the disease itself. Not all people who inherit mutations in these genes will develop cancer.[1]
Last updated: 10/23/2012

How is Lynch syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Lynch syndrome can be made on the basis of the Amsterdam clinical criteria or on the basis of molecular genetic testing for germline mutations in one of several mismatch repair (MMR) genes.[3] To read detailed diagnostic strategies, click here.
Last updated: 10/23/2012

References
  1. Lynch syndrome. Genetics Home Reference Web site. April 2008; http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition=lynchsyndrome. Accessed 7/1/2011.
  2. Kohlmann W, Gruber S. Lynch syndrome. GeneReviews. September 20, 2012; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1211/. Accessed 10/23/2012.
  3. Kohlmann W, Gruber SB. Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer. GeneReviews. November 2006; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1211/#hnpcc.Diagnosis. Accessed 7/1/2011.