Hamartomatous polyposis syndromes
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The hamartomatous polyposis syndromes are a heterogeneous group of disorders that share an autosomal-dominant pattern of inheritance and are characterized by hamartomatous polyps of the gastrointestinal tract. These syndromes include juvenile polyposis syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and the PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome. The frequency and location of the polyps vary considerably among syndromes, as does the affected patient's predisposition to the development of gastrointestinal and other malignancies. Although the syndromes are uncommon, it is important for the clinician to recognize these disorders because they are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, not only from malignancy but also from nonmalignant manifestations such as bleeding, intussusception, and bowel obstruction. Each hamartomatous polyposis syndrome has its own distinctive organ-specific manifestations and each requires a different surveillance strategy, which makes accurate diagnosis crucial for appropriate patient management. The availability of clinical genetic testing for these disorders means that appropriate recognition allows for timely referral for cancer genetic counseling, and often allows for predicative testing in at-risk family members. Promisingly, an understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of these disorders offers insights into the mechanisms underlying the development of sporadic malignancy, and enables rational selection of targeted therapies that warrant further investigation.
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