Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) is a disorder often passed down through families (inherited) in which the person develops intestinal polyps and is at a significantly higher risk for developing certain cancers.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
It is unknown how many people are affected by PJS. However, the National Institutes of Health estimates that it affects about 1 in 25,000 to 300,000 births.
There are two types of PJS:
Familial PJS is due to a mutation in a gene called STK11. The genetic defect is passed down (inherited) through families as an autosomal dominant trait. That means if one of your parents has this type of PJS, you have a 50:50 chance of inheriting the bad gene and having the disease.
Sporadic PJS is not passed down through families and appears unrelated to the STK11 gene mutation.
Brownish or bluish-gray pigmented spots on the lips, gums, inner lining of the mouth, and skin
The polyps develop mainly in the small intestine, but also in the colon. A colonoscopy will show colon polyps. The small intestine is evaluated with either a barium x-ray (small bowel series) or a small camera that is swallowed and then take multiple pictures as it travels through the small bowel (capsule endoscopy).
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or your baby have symptoms of this condition. Severe abdominal pain may be a sign of an emergency condition such as intussusception.
Genetic counseling is recommended if you are planning to have children and have a family history of this condition.
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Todd Eisner, MD, Private practice specializing in Gastroenterology, Boca Raton, FL, Clinical Instructor, Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.