Colorectal Cancer Research Group

Pictured from left to right: Ms Jenna Oosthuizen, Mr Anathi Jongilanga, Ms Alvera Vorster, Prof. R Ramesar, Ms Onkabetse Motaung & Ms Lindiwe Lamola

In hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) the identification of the underlying genes on the human genome would provide a secure basis for management, including targeted surveillance and surgical prophylaxis; and it would free those individuals not carrying the disease-associated mutation from unnecessary worry and colonoscopic screening. Our finding of mutations in two of the largest South African families with this disorder has laid the ground for further investigative work on a further 48 families on our records and in our biological archives. An understanding of the molecular basis of cancer may well provide us with biological clues as to the basis of the more common sporadic forms of colorectal cancers. The implementation of ‘genetic management’ for this group of disorders will provide a management paradigm for other forms of familial cancers.

Read about HNPCC.