Hereditary Cancer and Genetic Testing

Cancers linked to inherited mutations

Cancers caused by an inherited mutation are called hereditary cancers. The remaining cancers - those not caused by an inherited mutation - are called sporadic cancers. Most cancers are sporadic, but overall, about 10-20% of cancers are believed to be caused by an inherited mutation. 

Some common cancer types and associated inherited mutations are listed in the table below. 

Type of cancer List of gene mutations
Breast , , , , , ,
Colorectal APC, , , MUTYH
Endometrial *, ,
, ovarian and primary peritoneal ,  
Gastric  APC, , , MUTYH**, 
Melanoma , CDK4CDKN2A
Pancreatic CDKN2A
, **, HOXB13, **, **, **, **, **


*Although the increased risk is small, mutations have been linked to a rare and aggressive type of endometrial cancer. 

**More research is needed to learn the risk for people with mutations in this gene.   

key-facts key-facts

  • Mutations in different genes increase the risk for different types of cancers. 
  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome () refers to mutations in and , which increase the risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and other cancers. 
  • refers to mutations in , , , and , which increase the risk for colorectal, endometrial and other cancers. 
Last updated February 08, 2022