Background: The HNPCC syndrome (hereditary non polyposis colon cancer) is an inherited condition defined by clinical and genealogical information, known as Amsterdam criteria. In about 70% of cases, HNPCC syndrome is caused by germline mutations in MMR genes, leading to microsatellite instability of tumor DNA (MSI phenotype). Patients affected by the disease are at high risk for colorectal and endometrial carcinomas, but also for small intestine, urothelial, ovary, stomach and biliary tract carcinomas. HNPCC syndrome is responsible for 5% of colorectal cancers. Identification and management of this disease are part of a multidisciplinary procedure.
Methods: 12 experts have been mandated by the French Health Ministry to analyze and synthesize their consensus position, and the resulting document has been reviewed by an additional group of 4 independent experts.
Main recommendations: The lack of sensitivity of Amsterdam criteria in recognizing patients carrying a MMR germline mutation led to an enlargement of these criteria for the recruitment of possible HNPCC patients, and to a 2-steps strategy, asking first for a tumor characterization according to MSI phenotype, especially in case of early-onset sporadic cases. The identification of germline MMR mutations has no major consequence on the cancer treatments, but influences markedly the long-term follow-up and the management of at-risk relatives. Gene carriers will enter a follow-up program regarding their colorectal and endometrial cancer risks, but other organs being at low lifetime risk, no specific surveillance will be proposed.