Prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, sarcomas and more cancer types now linked to Lynch syndrome

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More than just colorectal and endometrial cancers

Scientists at the ASCO (Americal Society of Clinical Oncology) 2018 meeting in Chicago[1] have said that Lynch syndrome (usually associated with an increased risk of colorectal and endometrial cancers), is linked with several additional types of cancer. New screening recommendations have also been suggested for families with a history of Lynch syndrome.

What is Lynch syndrome?

Discovered by (and named after) Dr Henry Lynch in the 1960s[2], the syndrome refers to the presence of 5 mismatch repair genes, or MMR genes that has previously been linked to the increased risk of certain cancer types. It is a genetic condition, and is generally seen in members of the same family (bloodline).

New cancer types linked to Lynch syndrome

Before the new cancer types (including cancers of the ovary, stomach, urothelial tract, and small bowel, and less frequently – cancers of the brain, biliary tract, pancreas, and prostate) were linked[3] to Lynch syndrome, scientists performed a genetic analysis of about 15,000 tumor samples from 50 different cancer types. They were looking for glitches known as high microsatellite instability (MSI-H).

This genetic marker (MSI-H) is typically associated[4] with a lot of genetic abnormalities found in common tumors.