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Biallelic germline mutations affecting NTHL1 predispose carriers to adenomatous polyposis and colorectal cancer, but the complete phenotype is unknown. We describe 29 individuals carrying biallelic germline NTHL1 mutations from 17 families, of which 26 developed one (n = 10) or multiple (n = 16) malignancies in 14 different tissues. An unexpected high breast cancer incidence was observed in female carriers (60%). Mutational signature analysis of 14 tumors from 7 organs revealed that NTHL1 deficiency underlies the main mutational process in all but one of the tumors (93%). These results reveal NTHL1 as a multi-tumor predisposition gene with a high lifetime risk for extracolonic cancers and a typical mutational signature observed across tumor types, which can assist in the recognition of this syndrome.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Cell

Publication Date





256 - 266.e5


DNA repair defect, NTHL1, adenomatous polyposis, base excision repair, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, genetic predisposition, multiple malignancies, mutational signature, somatic mutation spectrum, Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Tumor, DNA Mutational Analysis, DNA Repair, Deoxyribonuclease (Pyrimidine Dimer), Europe, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Germ-Line Mutation, Heredity, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary, Pedigree, Phenotype, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Transcriptome, Young Adult