Familial adenomatous polyposis has been associated with several extraintestinal cancers, but the relative and absolute risks of these malignancies have not been determined. Extraintestinal cancers reportedly associated with adenomatous polyposis (thyroid gland, adrenal gland, pancreas, and biliary tract) were identified in polyposis patients and their at risk relatives in The Johns Hopkins Registry. The incidence rates of identified tumours were then compared with the general population through person year analysis with adjustment for population. For comparison, the incidence rates of the two most common cancers not associated with polyposis (breast cancer in women and lung cancer) were also calculated. There was an increased relative risk of thyroid cancer (relative risk 7.6; 95% confidence limits (CL) 2.5-17.7) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (relative risk 4.46; 95% CL 1.2-11.4) in polyposis patients and at risk relatives. The absolute risk was 26.8 and 21.4 cases/100,000 person years, respectively. No cases of adrenal or biliary cancer were found in this cohort. There was no increased relative risk of lung cancer (95% CL 0.04-1.4) or breast cancer (95% CL 0.04-1.4) over the general population. The relative risks of thyroid and pancreatic cancer are increased in familial adenomatous polyposis, but the absolute lifetime risk is low. Screening for pancreatic cancer may not be worthwhile with currently available methods, but careful physical examination of the thyroid gland is warranted along with consideration for ultrasonography.
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