Founding mutations and Alu-mediated recombination in hereditary colon cancer

Minna Nyström-Lahti, Paula Kristo, Nicholas C. Nicolaides, Sheng Yung Chang, Lauri A. Aaltonen, Anu Liisa Moisio, Heikki J. Järvinen, Jukka Pekka Mecklin, Kenneth W. Kinzler, Bert Vogelstein, Albert De-La-Chapelle, Päivi Peltomäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


By screening members of Finnish families displaying hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) for predisposing germline mutations in MSH2 and MLH1, we show that two mutations in MLH1 together account for 63% (19/30) of kindreds meeting international diagnostic criteria. Mutation 1, originally detected as a 165-base pair deletion in MLH1 cDNA comprising exon 16, was shown to consist of a 3.5-kilobase genomic deletion most likely resulting from Alu-mediated recombination. Mutation 2 destroys the splice acceptor site of exon 6. A simple diagnostic test based on polymerase chain reaction was designed for both mutations. Our results show that these two ancestral founding mutations account for a majority of Finnish HNPCC kindreds and represent the first report of Alu-mediated recombination causing a prevalent, dominantly inherited predisposition to cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1206
Number of pages4
JournalNature medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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