Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing

General information for people with inherited MSH2 mutations

Both men and women can carry a mutation in the MSH2 gene.

Inherited mutations in the MSH2 gene are associated with Lynch syndrome. Other names for Lynch syndrome include Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) and Muir-Torre syndrome, which refers to a subset of Lynch syndrome in which people have an increased risk of developing uncommon skin tumors.

People with inherited MSH2 mutations have increased risk for many cancers but particularly cancers of the large intestine (the colon and the rectum) and uterus (endometrium).  See our Cancer Risk section for more information.  There are guidelines for screening and prevention for certain cancers in people with an MSH2 mutation. Clinical trials may also be available for people who test positive for an MSH2 mutation. See our Risk Management section for more information about screening and prevention options.

People with an inherited MSH2 mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may qualify for specific treatments or clinical trials. Visit our Cancer Treatment section for more information about treatment for people with an MSH2 mutation.

Children who inherit a MSH2 mutation from both their mother and father can have a rare syndrome known as “constitutional mismatch repair deficiency (CMMRD),” which can cause high risks of various cancers in childhood and young adulthood. See our Other Considerations section for more information about this disease.

The name MSH2 stands for "MutS homolog 2." The gene is located on chromosome 2. The MSH2 gene protein plays an important role in repairing DNA damage.

find-support

If you are a person with an MSH2 mutation, you can find peer support through the following resources:

  • Register for the FORCE Message Boards to connect with others who share your situation. Once you register, you can post on the Share Your Mutation board to connect with other people who carry an MSH2 mutation.
  • FORCE's Peer Navigation Program will match you with a volunteer who shares your mutation and situation and provide you with a free resource guide. 
  • AliveAndKickn is a nonprofit organization by and for people with Lynch syndrome.
  • Lynch Syndrome International is a nonprofit organization that provides support for individuals afflicted with Lynch syndrome.