A family is presented with attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis of variable phenotype. The clinical features range from sparse right-sided polyposis and cancer in the proximal colon at the age of 34 to pan-colonic polyposis and cancer at the age of 68. Rectal sparing is common to all affected members. Heteroduplex analysis detected bands of altered mobility in exon 9 of the APC gene in all affected family members. Subsequently, a frameshift mutation was found in the alternatively spliced region of exon 9 at codon 398 which resulted in a stop signal 4 codons downstream. Alternatively spliced transcripts that delete the mutation were readily amplified from normal colonic mucosa and therefore create a mechanism for the attenuated phenotype seen in this family.