Population-based Screening for Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Variants in Japan

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Sep;20(9):2132-2141.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2020.12.007. Epub 2020 Dec 11.


Background & aims: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in the world. A small proportion of CRCs can be attributed to recognizable hereditary germline variants of known CRC susceptibility genes. To better understand cancer risk, it is necessary to explore the prevalence of hereditary CRC and pathogenic variants of multiple cancer-predisposing genes in non-European populations.

Methods: We analyzed the coding regions of 27 cancer-predisposing genes in 12,503 unselected Japanese CRC patients and 23,705 controls by target sequencing and genome-wide SNP chip. Their clinical significance was assessed using ClinVar and the guidelines by ACMG/AMP.

Results: We identified 4,804 variants in the 27 genes and annotated them as pathogenic in 397 and benign variants in 941, of which 43.6% were novel. In total, 3.3% of the unselected CRC patients and 1.5% of the controls had a pathogenic variant. The pathogenic variants of MSH2 (odds ratio (OR) = 18.1), MLH1 (OR = 8.6), MSH6 (OR = 4.9), APC (OR = 49.4), BRIP1 (OR=3.6), BRCA1 (OR = 2.6), BRCA2 (OR = 1.9), and TP53 (OR = 1.7) were significantly associated with CRC development in the Japanese population (P-values<0.01, FDR<0.05). These pathogenic variants were significantly associated with diagnosis age and personal/family history of cancer. In total, at least 3.5% of the Japanese CRC population had a pathogenic variant or CNV of the 27 cancer-predisposing genes, indicating hereditary cancers.

Conclusions: This largest study of CRC heredity in Asia can contribute to the development of guidelines for genetic testing and variant interpretation for heritable CRCs.

Keywords: BRCA1/2; BRIP1; CNV; Hereditary Colorectal Cancer; Pathogenic Variant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Japan