The recent identification of the familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) gene (designated as APC) enables conclusive genetic testing of at-risk family members for the specific mutation in families in which the germline gene mutation has been characterized. Presymptomatic molecular diagnosis of FAP was performed by direct direction of mutations in lymphocyte DNA in four families. Each of the families has a different mutation of the APC gene. Twenty-seven offspring of affected individuals (a priori risk of 50%) were tested. Ten of the 27 had already developed clinical features of FAP. Of the remaining seventeen, two had had a negative colon exam at an early age, and nine had never had colon exams (mean age, 12.1±3.1 SD years). Six children from this group (54%) were found to carry their affected parent's mutation. No change in the conventional FAP colon screening regimen is recommended for these children. In contrast, when direct tests indicate that an individual does not have the FAP mutation, we recommended that screening be decreased. Reduction of uncertainty for at-risk FAP family members is an important benefit of genetic testing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas