Deleterious Germline BLM Mutations and the Risk for Early-onset Colorectal Cancer

Richarda M de Voer, Marc-Manuel Hahn, Arjen R Mensenkamp, Alexander Hoischen, Christian Gilissen, Arjen Henkes, Liesbeth Spruijt, Wendy A van Zelst-Stams, C Marleen Kets, Eugene T Verwiel, Iris D Nagtegaal, Hans K Schackert, Ad Geurts van Kessel, Nicoline Hoogerbrugge, Marjolijn J L Ligtenberg, Roland P Kuiper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Bloom syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by chromosomal instability and increased cancer risk, caused by biallelic mutations in the RECQL-helicase gene BLM. Previous studies have led to conflicting conclusions as to whether carriers of heterozygous BLM mutations have an increased risk to develop colorectal cancer (CRC). We recently identified two carriers of a pathogenic BLM mutation in a cohort of 55 early-onset CRC patients (≤45 years of age), suggesting an overrepresentation compared to the normal population. Here, we performed targeted sequencing using molecular inversion probes to screen an additional cohort of 185 CRC patients (≤50 years of age) and 532 population-matched controls for deleterious BLM mutations. In total, we identified three additional CRC patients (1.6%) and one control individual (0.2%) that carried a known pathogenic BLM mutation, suggesting that these mutations are enriched in early-onset CRC patients (P = 0.05516). A comparison with local and publically available databases from individuals without suspicion for hereditary cancer confirmed this enrichment (P = 0.003534). Analysis of family members of the five BLM mutation carriers with CRC suggests an incomplete penetrance for CRC development. Therefore, these data indicate that carriers of deleterious BLM mutations are at increased risk to develop CRC, albeit with a moderate-to-low penetrance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14060
Pages (from-to)14060
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Exome
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Heterozygote
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Male
  • Mutation Rate
  • Pedigree
  • Population Surveillance
  • RecQ Helicases/genetics
  • Risk


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