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Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is a dominantly inherited colorectal tumor predisposition that results from germ-line mutations in the APC gene (chromosome 5q21). FAP shows substantial phenotypic variability: classical polyposis patients develop more than 100 colorectal adenomas, whereas those with attenuated polyposis (AAPC) have fewer than 100 adenomas. A further group of individuals, so-called "multiple" adenoma patients, have a phenotype like AAPC, with 3-99 polyps throughout the colorectum, but mostly have no demonstrable germ-line APC mutation. Routine mutation detection techniques fail to detect a pathogenic APC germ-line mutation in approximately 30% of patients with classical polyposis and 90% of those with AAPC/multiple adenomas. We have developed a real-time quantitative multiplex PCR assay to detect APC exon 14 deletions. When this technique was applied to a set of 60 classical polyposis and 143 AAPC/multiple adenoma patients with no apparent APC germ-line mutation, deletions were found exclusively in individuals with classical polyposis (7 of 60, 12%). Fine-mapping of the region suggested that the majority (6 of 7) of these deletions encompassed the entire APC locus, confirming that haploinsufficiency can result in a classical polyposis phenotype. Screening for germ-line deletions in APC mutation-negative individuals with classical polyposis seems warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





2954 - 2958


Adenoma, Adenomatous Polyposis Coli, Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein, Colorectal Neoplasms, DNA Primers, Exons, Gene Deletion, Genes, APC, Genetic Testing, Humans, Polymerase Chain Reaction