APC rearrangements in familial adenomatous polyposis: heterogeneity of deletion lengths and breakpoint sequences underlies similar phenotypes

Marialuisa Quadri, Annalisa Vetro, Viviana Gismondi, Monica Marabelli, Lucio Bertario, Paola Sala, Liliana Varesco, Orsetta Zuffardi, Guglielmina N. Ranzani

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Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is a dominantly inherited syndrome leading to the development of multiple intestinal polyps and colorectal cancer. FAP is associated with germline defects of APC tumor suppressor gene; although truncating mutations account for the majority of cases, large APC deletions represent a common disease-causing defect. While a number of intragenic deletions have been well-characterized, sequencing data of breakpoints involved in large APC rearrangements are extremely scanty. We characterized six deletions identified by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (three intragenic and three larger deletions encompassing the APC locus): in each case, we precisely mapped the breakpoints by array-comparative genomic hybridization and/or long-range PCR followed by sequencing. All rearrangements were novel and no rearrangements proved to be recurrent or clustered. The three intragenic deletions involved exons 4, 9 and 14, respectively; larger deletions (30,444, 265,471 and 921,295 bp in length) involved APC as well as adjacent genes. Nine out of 12 breakpoints fell within repetitive elements (5 Alu, 2 LINE, 1 Tigger and 1 MIR), while the remaining 3 fell within unique sequences. In five out of six patients, non-allelic homologous recombination or non-homologous end joining appear as the most likely mechanisms behind APC rearrangements. Although a certain variability of clinical features was detectable both between and within families with deletions, all deletion carriers were classifiable as FAP patients showing colonic and extracolonic manifestations that belong to the spectrum of the syndrome. Therefore, different sized deletions, variable breakpoint localizations and haploinsufficiency for other genes besides APC, resulted in the same FAP clinical phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalFamilial Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 18 2015


  • APC gene
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Fine mapping
  • Large deletions
  • Phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Medicine(all)


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