Background: Attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP) is characterized by the presence of 10-99 colorectal adenomas. The disease may be associated with mutations in either APC or MUTYH genes. We purposed to evaluate the contribution of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and MutY homologue (MUTYH) germline alterations to the AFAP phenotype and to identify genotype/phenotype correlations. Methods: During counselling for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), 91 probands (and 107 affected individuals) who met the criteria of AFAP were identified. Eighty Eightytwo families were screened for constitutional mutations of the APC and MUTYH genes. Results: MUTYH mutations were detected in 21 families (25.6 % of the 82 tested), and APC mutations in 7 (8.5 %). Overall, constitutional alterations were found in 34.1 % of the probands. Patients with APC mutations were younger at cancer onset and had a higher mean number of polyps (48.5 ± 33.0 in APC? individuals vs. 35.7 ± 24.9 in MUTYH? individuals, and 33.2 ± 18.4 in the "no mutation" group). Clinical features rendered the "no mutation" group closer to MUTYH? than to the APC? group. Colorectal cancer at diagnosis was detected in 40 % of AFAP individuals. Conclusions: AFAP is a new clinical entity with its frequency in the general population still undefined. The number of adenomas varies greatly, with an average of 30-40 lesions. The molecular basis of AFAP can be established in approximately 1/3 of the patients. Both MUTYH and APC genes are implicated in AFAP, though the role of MUTYH is of considerably greater relevance.
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