Is Breast Cancer Linked to Lynch Syndrome?

Although breast cancer has not traditionally been considered one of the cancers associated with Lynch syndrome, evidence is building that there might be a link.

Breast cancer may actually be with in the spectrum of Lynch cancers.

An Australian team reviewing the pathology of breast cancers in women who carried a mutation for Lynch syndrome ( hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer) found that half of the breast tumors were mismatch repair deficient — a hallmark of Lynch cancers.

The team found 107 cases of breast cancer and 90 families in the Colorectal Cancer Family Registry where

  • both breast and colon cancer co-occurred
  • families met either modified Amsterdam criteria, or had at least one colorectal cancer occurring before age 50
  • breast tissue was available in the tissue bank for mismatch repair (MMR) testing

Among those breast cancers, 35 women with a Lynch mutation had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Of these, 18 (51%) showed deficient mismatch repair and immunohistochemical testing found proteins missing that were the same as the family mutation.

Michael D. Walsh from the  Familial Cancer Laboratory at the  Bancroft Centre in Queensland, Australia, wrote,

Mismatch repair deficiency was identified in 51% of breast cancers arising in known mutation carriers. Breast cancer therefore may represent a valid tissue option for the detection of MMR deficiency in which spectrum tumors are lacking.

SOURCE: Walsh et al. , Clinical Cancer Research, Volume 16,  Number 7, April 1,2010.


  1. Kate Murphy says

    There is no reason to “clean” the colon other than when preparing for an exam like colonoscopy.

    The lining of the colon is kept healthy by good bacteria and the forward action of the the intestinal muscles.

    Despite some popular notions, feces do not build up in the colon or stick to its walls. Constipation may make bowel movements dry and hard to pass occasionally. Usually more liquids and fiber from fruits and vegetables can ease this sort of occasional constipation.

    People with chronic constipation need to discuss it with their doctors.

    Harsh laxatives designed to clean the colon can destroy healthy bacteria in the colon and may lead to dangerous dehydration.

    If colon cleansing is done by a practitioner who forces water or other liquids into the colon (so-called “high colonics”, there are risks of infection from poorly sterilized equipment or even tears in the colon — a serious medical emergency.

    Colon cleansing is not healthy.

    Please talk to your doctor if you feel you need advice about constipation or colon cleansing.

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