An increased incidence of colorectal cancer has been observed in breast and breast-ovarian cancer syndrome families, including those of Ashkenazi origin. Recently, a germ-line missense mutation in the APC gene, I1307K, was identified that may indirectly cause colorectal cancer in Ashkenazi Jews. To determine whether the excess of colon cancer in some breast-ovarian cancer families is related to the I1307K mutation, we evaluated 264 Ashkenazi Jews from 158 families. Most of these individuals had either a personal or a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and 19.3% (51 of 264) carried one of the recurrent BRCA1 (185delAG or 5382 insC) or BRCA2 (6174delT) mutations. We detected the APC I1307K mutation in 7% (11 of 158) of the Ashkenazi Jewish families and in 4.5% (12 of 264) of the individuals participating in these studies. Of the families studied, 26.6% (42 of 158) had at least one case of colorectal cancer in a first-, second-, or third-degree relative of the proband. Significantly, of the 12 individuals who possessed the I1307K mutation, none was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and none had a known first-, second-, or third-degree relative diagnosed with colon cancer. The results suggest that factors other than the I1307K mutation contribute to the increased incidence of colon cancer in Ashkenazi breast-ovarian cancer families. Our results emphasize that only a subset of Ashkenazi Jewish individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer should be viewed as candidates for genetic susceptibility testing for the I1307K APC mutation.

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Supported in part by the Margaret Dyson Foundation, Department of Defense Grant DAMD17-94-J-4425 (to M. D.), the Komen Foundation, the Hoxie Harrison Smith Foundation, the Butler Family Fund, the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America, the Emile Zola Chapter of Brith Shalom Women, and NIH Grant RO1 CA70328 (to A. K. G.).

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