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Many colorectal cancers (CRCs) develop in genetically susceptible individuals most of whom are not carriers of germ line mismatch repair or APC gene mutations and much of the heritable risk of CRC appears to be attributable to the co-inheritance of multiple low-risk variants. The accumulated experience to date in identifying this class of susceptibility allele has highlighted the need to conduct statistically and methodologically rigorous studies and the need for the multi-centre collaboration. This has been the motivation for establishing the COGENT (COlorectal cancer GENeTics) consortium which now includes over 20 research groups in Europe, Australia, the Americas, China and Japan actively working on CRC genetics. Here, we review the rationale for identifying low-penetrance variants for CRC and the current and future challenges for COGENT.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





143 - 151


Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research, 15 Cotswold Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5NG, UK.


members of COGENT, Humans, Colorectal Neoplasms, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Polymorphism, Genetic, Genes, Neoplasm