Gastric cancer (GC) is a major clinical challenge because of its frequency, and poor prognosis. The etiology of GC is still uncertain, but its familial aggregation in a variable but significant proportion of cases suggests the importance of genetic predisposition. Previous studies on family history of GC, the association of familial risk of GC with the age of onset GC, with family member genders, or with family history of non-GCs, usually yielded contrasting results. Although GC is prevalence in China, scanty information about its family history is available.
A research article to be published on June 7,2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Professor Yu-Long He from The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, investigated 2260 GC population in Guangdong, China and found 256 with oncological family history. Among the 256 families, 112 were the families with history for gastric and 144 were the families with history for non-gastric cancer. The category and overall ranking of associated tumors in the families, gender of the affected members and their relationship to the probands were analyzed.
Through comparison of the features between the 2 kinds of families, this study is believed that the overall ranking of associated non-GCs in the family history of GC may depends on geographical variation; familial predisposition to GC may be related to compound genetic and/or local environmental factors; and a certain subtype of GC may be inherited in a female-influenced fashion.
These results represent important data about familial predisposition to GC in a part of the world with a high prevalence, and will add to the available body of knowledge about GC hereditary and aid in future research into this important disease. The results, especially females are usually at higher risk than males when reporting a maternal history of non-GCs, also help to guide genetic counseling for the relatives of GC patients.
Reference: Zhou XF, He YL, Song W, Peng JJ, Z hang CH, Li W, Wu H. Comparison of patients by family history with gastric and non-gastric cancer. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(21): 2644-2650
Correspondence to: Yu-Long He, Professor, Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong Province, China. firstname.lastname@example.org
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