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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Apr;15(4):451-62.

A molecular rationale for the how, when and why of colorectal cancer screening.

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Department of Medicine, Dallas VA Medical Center and University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, TX, USA.


Colorectal cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Recently, colorectal cancer screening and colorectal cancer prevention have gained national attention. In response, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research have published recommendations for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance in patients with sporadic as well as hereditary forms of colorectal cancer. This review will focus on the basic molecular differences underlying the formation of carcinoma in patients with sporadic colorectal cancer, and the heritable syndromes of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), and juvenile polyposis (JPS). By appreciating the molecular mechanisms underlying these four types of polyp cancer syndromes, the differences in clinical time course for progression from polyp to carcinoma and in current screening recommendations for patients with sporadic adenomas, FAP, HNPCC and JPS can be better understood.

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