Author(s): White S, Bubb VJ, Wyllie AH
Germline mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli gene are associated with the dominantly inherited syndrome of familial adenomatous polyposis. Somatic mutations in this gene are an early event in sporadic colorectal tumorigenesis. Here we report a family with genetic characteristics that do not conform exactly to either of these situations. The index case and three siblings presented with colorectal cancer, and another sibling had lung cancer. There was no evidence of colorectal cancer susceptibility in previous generations, although one case of gastric cancer was observed. Using restriction fragment length polymorphism, single-strand conformational polymorphism, and sequencing analysis, we screened each living family member for alterations in the mutation cluster region of exon 15 of the APC gene. A constitutional single base pair substitution at codon 1317 was observed in two of the siblings with colorectal cancer, but neither exhibited any colonic features typical of FAP nor an early onset of cancer. This constitutional change is a missense mutation and therefore does not result in the truncation of the APC protein, the most commonly observed result of mutation in this gene. We present evidence that this change is not a polymorphism and may be capable of conferring a growth advantage. This particular germline APC mutation does not completely cosegregate with cancer in this family; therefore, we conclude that another gene locus may be responsible for the increased cancer risk observed.