Common colorectal cancer risk alleles contribute to the multiple colorectal adenoma phenotype, but do not influence colonic polyposis in FAP

Timothy H.T. Cheng, Maggie Gorman, Lynn Martin, Ella Barclay, Graham Casey, Polly A. Newcomb, David V. Conti, Fred Schumacher, Steve Gallinger, Noralane M. Lindor, John Hopper, Mark Jenkins, David J. Hunter, Peter Kraft, Kevin B. Jacobs, David G. Cox, Meredith Yeager, Susan E. Hankinson, Sholom Wacholder, Zhaoming WangRobert Welch, Amy Hutchinson, Junwen Wang, Kai Yu, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Nick Orr, Walter C. Willett, Graham A. Colditz, Regina G. Ziegler, Christine D. Berg, Saundra S. Buys, Catherine A. McCarty, Heather Spencer Feigelson, Eugenia E. Calle, Michael J. Thun, Richard B. Hayes, Margaret Tucker, Daniela S. Gerhard, Joseph F. Fraumeni, Robert N. Hoover, Gilles Thomas, Stephen J. Chanock, Julia Ciampa, Jesus Gonzalez-Bosquet, Sonja Berndt, Laufey Amundadottir, W. Ryan Diver, Demetrius Albanes, Jarmo Virtamo, Stephanie Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The presence of multiple (5-100) colorectal adenomas suggests an inherited predisposition, but the genetic aetiology of this phenotype is undetermined if patients test negative for Mendelian polyposis syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP). We investigated whether 18 common colorectal cancer (CRC) predisposition single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could help to explain some cases with multiple adenomas who phenocopied FAP or MAP, but had no pathogenic APC or MUTYH variant. No multiple adenoma case had an outlying number of CRC SNP risk alleles, but multiple adenoma patients did have a significantly higher number of risk alleles than population controls (P = 5.7 × 10 -7 ). The association was stronger in those with ≥ 10 adenomas. The CRC SNPs accounted for 4.3% of the variation in multiple adenoma risk, with three SNPs (rs6983267, rs10795668, rs3802842) explaining 3.0% of the variation. In FAP patients, the CRC risk score did not differ significantly from the controls, as we expected given the overwhelming effect of pathogenic germline APC variants on the phenotype of these cases. More unexpectedly, we found no evidence that the CRC SNPs act as modifier genes for the number of colorectal adenomas in FAP patients. In conclusion, common colorectal tumour risk alleles contribute to the development of multiple adenomas in patients without pathogenic germline APC or MUTYH variants. This phenotype may have 'polygenic' or monogenic origins. The risk of CRC in relatives of multiple adenoma cases is probably much lower for cases with polygenic disease, and this should be taken into account when counselling such patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-263
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
TC is supported by the Rhodes Trust. Other molecular and statistical analyses were funded by Cancer Research UK. Core funding to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics was provided by the Wellcome Trust (090532/Z/09/Z).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


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