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Gastroenterology. 2009 Apr;136(4):1251-60. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.12.050. Epub 2008 Dec 27.

Germline MutY human homologue mutations and colorectal cancer: a multisite case-control study.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The MutY human homologue (MYH) gene is a member of the base-excision repair pathway involved in the repair of oxidative DNA damage. The objective of this study was to determine colorectal cancer (CRC) risk associated with mutations in the MYH gene.


A total of 3811 CRC cases and 2802 controls collected from a multisite CRC registry were screened for 9 germline MYH mutations; subjects with any mutation underwent screening of the entire MYH gene. Logistic regression was used to estimate age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (AOR). Clinicopathologic and epidemiologic data were reviewed to describe the phenotype associated with MYH mutation status and assess for potential confounding and effect modification.


Twenty-seven cases and 1 control subject carried homozygous or compound heterozygous MYH mutations (AOR, 18.1; 95% confidence interval, 2.5-132.7). CRC cases with homozygous/compound heterozygous mutations were younger at diagnosis (P=.01), had a higher proportion of right-sided (P=.01), synchronous cancers (P<.01), and personal history of adenomatous polyps (P=.003). Heterozygous MYH mutations were identified in 87 CRC cases and 43 controls; carriers were at increased risk of CRC (AOR, 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-2.16). There was a higher prevalence of low-frequency microsatellite instability (MSI) in tumors from heterozygous and homozygous/compound heterozygous MYH mutation carriers (P=.02); MSI status modified the CRC risk associated with heterozygous MYH mutations (P interaction<.001).


Homozygous/compound heterozygous MYH mutations account for less than 1% of CRC cases. Heterozygous carriers are at increased risk of CRC. Further studies are needed to understand the possible interaction between the base excision repair and low-frequency MSI pathways.

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