Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common malignancy among women after breast cancer, and the third most common malignancy among men after lung and prostate cancer in the European Union. In the Netherlands, approximately 10000 cases are diagnosed each year. CRC is moreover associated with high mortality and ranks second to lung cancer as a cause of cancer-related mortality in Europe.1 CRC results from both genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors are a major cause of disease in approximately 20% of CRC cases, with a spectrum ranging from ill-defined familial aggregation without a detectable disease-causing mutation (classified as familial CRC), to well-defined autosomal dominant inherited syndromes.

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Financial support for printing this thesis was kindly given by Zambon Nederland BV, ABBOTT Immunology, Tramedico, Dr. Falk Pharma Benelux BV, Bayer BV, Merck Sharp & Dohme BV, PENTAX Nederland BV, Gerrit Blaauw fonds, J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting, de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Gastroenterologie, the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, and the Erasmus University, Rotterdam
E.W. Steyerberg (Ewout) , E.J. Kuipers (Ernst)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam