The growing complexity of the intestinal polyposis syndromes

Emanuela Lucci-Cordisco, Mauro Risio, Tiziana Venesio, Maurizio Genuardi

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Familial adenomatous polyposis has been the first form of inherited intestinal polyposis to be recognized. For a long time it has been considered the main polyposis syndrome, associated with an easily recognizable phenotype, with a marginal role attributed to a few very rare hamartomatous conditions. More recently, it has been gradually demonstrated that the intestinal polyposes encompass a range of conditions within a wide spectrum of disease severity, polyp histology, and extraintestinal manifestations. A growing number of genes and phenotypes has been identified, and heterogeneity of somatic molecular pathways underlying epithelial transformation in different syndromes and associated tumors has been documented. Increasing knowledge on the molecular bases and more widespread use of genetic tests has shown phenotypic overlaps between conditions that were previously considered distinct, highlighting diagnostic difficulties. With the advent of next generation sequencing, the diagnosis and the classification of these syndromes will be progressively based more on genetic testing results. However, the phenotypic variability documented among patients with mutations in the same genes cannot be fully explained by different expressivity, indicating a role for as yet unknown modifying factors. Until the latter will be identified, the management of patients with polyposis syndromes should be guided by both clinical and genetic findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2777-2787
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • AFAP
  • Cancer risk
  • FAP
  • Hereditary mixed polyposis
  • Juvenile polyposis
  • MAP
  • Molecular pathway
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • PTEN tumor hamartoma syndrome
  • Serrated polyposis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics


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