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Molecular Pathology of Lynch Syndrome

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Pathology
Early online date28 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2020


Lynch syndrome (LS) is characterised by predisposition to colorectal, endometrial and other cancers and is caused by inherited pathogenic variants affecting the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2. It is probably the most common predisposition to cancer, having an estimated prevalence of between 1/100 and 1/180. Resources such as the International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Cancer’s MMR gene variant database, the Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) and the Colon Cancer Family Register (CCFR), as well as pathological and immunological studies are enabling advances in the understanding of LS. These include defined criteria by which to interpret gene variants, the function of DNA mismatch repair in the normal control of apoptosis, definition of the risks of the various cancers, and the mechanisms and pathways by which the colorectal and endometrial tumours develop, including the critical role of the immune system. Colorectal cancers in LS can develop along three pathways, including flat intramucosal lesions, which depend on the underlying affected MMR gene. This gives insights into the limitations of colonoscopic surveillance and highlights the need for other forms of anti-cancer prophylaxis in LS. Finally, it shows that the processes of autoimmunisation and immunoediting fundamentally constrain the development of tumours in LS and explains the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade therapy in MMR deficient tumours

    Research areas

  • Lynch syndrome

ID: 137804822