High cancer risk in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: a systematic review and surveillance recommendations

Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun;105(6):1258-64; author reply 1265. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.725. Epub 2010 Jan 5.


Objectives: Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder associated with increased cancer risk. Surveillance and patient management are, however, hampered by a wide range in cancer risk estimates. We therefore performed a systematic review to assess cancer risks in PJS patients and used these data to develop a surveillance recommendation.

Methods: A systematic PubMed search was performed up to February 2009, and all original articles dealing with PJS patients with confirmed cancer diagnoses were included. Data involving cancer frequencies, mean ages at cancer diagnosis, relative risks (RRs), and cumulative risks were collected.

Results: Twenty-one original articles, 20 cohort studies, and one meta-analysis fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The cohort studies showed some overlap in the patient population and included a total of 1,644 patients; 349 of them developed 384 malignancies at an average age of 42 years. The most common malignancy was colorectal cancer, followed by breast, small bowel, gastric, and pancreatic cancers. The reported lifetime risk for any cancer varied between 37 and 93%, with RRs ranging from 9.9 to 18 in comparison with the general population. Age-related cumulative risks were given for any cancer and gastrointestinal, gynecological, colorectal, pancreatic, and lung cancers.

Conclusions: PJS patients are markedly at risk for several malignancies, in particular gastrointestinal cancers and breast cancer. On the basis of these elevated risks, a surveillance recommendation is developed to detect malignancies in an early phase and to remove polyps that may be premalignant and may cause complications, so as to improve the outcome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome / complications*
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome / genetics
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult