Clin Cancer Res 2017 Jun;23(11):e23-e31
National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.
DNA repair syndromes are heterogeneous disorders caused by pathogenic variants in genes encoding proteins key in DNA replication and/or the cellular response to DNA damage. The majority of these syndromes are inherited in an autosomal-recessive manner, but autosomal-dominant and X-linked recessive disorders also exist. The clinical features of patients with DNA repair syndromes are highly varied and dependent on the underlying genetic cause. Notably, all patients have elevated risks of syndrome-associated cancers, and many of these cancers present in childhood. Although it is clear that the risk of cancer is increased, there are limited data defining the true incidence of cancer and almost no evidence-based approaches to cancer surveillance in patients with DNA repair disorders. This article is the product of the October 2016 AACR Childhood Cancer Predisposition Workshop, which brought together experts from around the world to discuss and develop cancer surveillance guidelines for children with cancer-prone disorders. Herein, we focus on the more common of the rare DNA repair disorders: ataxia telangiectasia, Bloom syndrome, Fanconi anemia, dyskeratosis congenita, Nijmegen breakage syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, and Xeroderma pigmentosum. Dedicated syndrome registries and a combination of basic science and clinical research have led to important insights into the underlying biology of these disorders. Given the rarity of these disorders, it is recommended that centralized centers of excellence be involved directly or through consultation in caring for patients with heritable DNA repair syndromes.