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Hereditary stomach/gastric cancer

Familial diffuse gastric cancer is an autosomally inherited disease that develops at a younger age than the much commoner sporadic form of this cancer. Germ line truncating mutations in the E-cadherin gene (CDH1) have been found in several families with this rare form of the disease. Analysis of these families, as reported in a current issue of the New England Journal of medicine, indicates that 75% of family members crrying a mutant CDH1 gene will develop the disease at young age and the authors recommend prophylactic gastrectomy in such carriers.