Familial Adenomatous Polyposis And Polyposis Syndromes

Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Polyposis Syndromes are rare genetic disorders that affect the large intestine or colon. FAP is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the APC gene, leading to the formation of multiple polyps in the colon, which can develop into cancer. Polyposis syndromes refer to a group of genetic disorders characterized by the presence of multiple polyps in the colon, which can be inherited or arise spontaneously.

Case: Mrs. X is a 40-year-old female who presents to her primary care physician with complaints of blood in her stool, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. She reports a family history of colon cancer in her father and paternal grandfather. A colonoscopy is performed, revealing the presence of multiple polyps in her colon. She is referred to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation.


FAP is caused by a mutation in the APC gene, which is responsible for the regulation of cell growth and division. The mutation leads to the formation of multiple polyps in the colon, which can become cancerous over time. The polyps are usually asymptomatic until they become large and cause symptoms such as bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Polyposis syndromes can be caused by mutations in several different genes, including APC, MUTYH, and SMAD4. These mutations also lead to the formation of multiple polyps in the colon, which can become cancerous over time.

Signs and Symptoms:

The signs and symptoms of FAP and Polyposis Syndromes include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss


The diagnosis of FAP and Polyposis Syndromes is made through a combination of clinical evaluation, genetic testing, and imaging studies. A colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting polyps in the colon, and biopsies can be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Genetic testing can identify the specific gene mutation responsible for the disorder. Imaging studies such as CT scans and MRI can be used to evaluate the extent of polyp growth and detect the presence of cancer.


The treatment of FAP and Polyposis Syndromes involves a combination of surgical and medical management. Surgical options include colectomy (removal of the colon) with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) or a proctocolectomy with ileostomy. These procedures can reduce the risk of cancer development and improve quality of life.

Medical management includes the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or sulindac, which can reduce polyp growth and delay the need for surgery. Chemopreventive agents such as celecoxib and rofecoxib have also been shown to reduce polyp growth.

Dos and Don’ts:

Patients with FAP and Polyposis Syndromes should undergo regular colonoscopies to monitor polyp growth and screen for the development of cancer. They should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoidance of smoking and alcohol.

Patients should avoid NSAIDs if they have a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcer disease. They should also avoid high-fat diets, which have been associated with an increased risk of polyp growth.


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