The apparent benefit associated with family history was stronger with an increasing number of affected family members. Compared with participants without a family history of colorectal cancer, participants with two or more affected relatives had a 51 percent lower risk for cancer recurrence or death.
Beyond rare, well-characterized hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, our data support the hypothesis that a relatively common though less penetrant genetic predisposition may not only influence colorectal cancer risk but also patient survival. This finding may reflect a distinct underlying molecular and pathogenic mechanism in cancers that develop in the setting of a common (i.e., sporadic) family history, the researchers write. Further studies are needed to more fully elucidate potential mechanisms by which a common family history may influence the outcome for patients with colorectal cancer.
(JAMA. 2008;299:2515-2523. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)
Editors Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Editorial: Familial Colorectal Cancer - A Genetics Treasure Trove for Medical Discovery
In an accompanying editorial, Boris Pasche, M.D., Ph.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and Contributing Editor, JAMA, comments on the results of the study by Chan and col
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