Cancer in ataxia-telangiectasia patients

Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 1990 May;46(1):9-19. doi: 10.1016/0165-4608(90)90003-s.


A gene locus for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is in chromosome region 11q22 to 11q23 and predisposes to cancer. Ataxia-telangiectasia patients appear to have two separate clinical patterns of malignancy. One pattern involves solid tumors, which have not been stressed and which include malignancies in the oral cavity, breast, stomach, pancreas, ovary, and bladder. Detection of a solid tumor in an A-T patient should serve as a warning. It heralds a markedly elevated risk of another malignancy in that patient. The second pattern of neoplasia in A-T is well recognized and consists of lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These malignancies may relate to immunodeficiency in A-T and to chromosome breakage and rearrangement, which are a feature of A-T. These two patterns of malignancy may be truly separate and reflect different mechanisms of malignancy in A-T, or they may not really be separate but instead reflect a single mechanism of malignancy. The situation in A-T is reminiscent of that in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), in which Kaposi's sarcoma occurs with mild immunodeficiency and pneumocystis carinii pneumonia occurs with more profound immunodeficiency owing to the human immunodeficiency virus. Next to pulmonary disease, cancer is the leading cause of death in A-T.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / complications
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / genetics*