Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterized by hamartomatous polyps in the small bowel and mucocutaneous pigmentation. Patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome often present as surgical emergencies with complications of the polyps, such as intussusception, bowel obstruction, and bleeding. Recently an increased risk of malignancies has also been reported. This study was initiated to determine the clinical features of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome in Korean patients, with special attention to the development of malignancies. Thirty patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome were investigated; their median age was 23.5 years, and symptoms appeared at a median age of 12.5 years. Family history was positive in one-half of cases, and mucocutaneous pigmentation was observed in almost all patients (93%). The jejunoileum was the most frequent site of the polyps, and there were generally 10-100 polyps. Multiple laparotomies were performed in a substantial portion of the patients, due mainly to polyp-induced bowel obstruction, and the surgical interventions were begun at a relatively young age (average 21.4 years). Four cases of small-bowel cancer and one case of breast cancer were detected in probands, at a relatively young age (mean 36 years). Cancers of the small bowel, stomach, colon, breast and cervix were diagnosed in the first relatives of the probands. Close follow-up from an early age should thus be performed in patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome as they are at high risk of surgical emergency and development of malignancy.
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