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2017 GI Cancers Symposium: Less Than Half of Recommended Adults Screened for Lynch Syndrome

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Key Points

  • MSI testing is recommended for all patients younger than 50 years of age because of prognostic and therapeutic implications.
  • MSI is a characteristic feature of Lynch syndrome and thus, having a germline mutation may put the patient and family members at risk for additional malignancies.
  • Researchers found that although compliance with testing guidelines increased over the years we studied, overall less than half of colorectal cancer patients less than 50 years old were getting tested.

A team of researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center found that, despite the recommendation of screening guidelines, less than half of adults younger than 50 years old who have colorectal cancer are being screened for Lynch syndrome, a genetic anomaly that increases the risk of colorectal and several other forms of cancer.

The team, led by Nestor F. Esnaola, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Cancer Health Disparities and Community Engagement and Professor of Surgical Oncology at Fox Chase, has been recognized with an ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award. The study was presented as a poster by Shaikh et al at the 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (Abstract 534).

Major Findings

The researchers studied factors and barriers that predicted compliance with microsatellite instability (MSI) testing in young patients, as well as factors associated with an increased risk of having MSI-high disease. MSI testing is recommended for all patients younger than 50 years of age because of prognostic and therapeutic implications. MSI is a characteristic feature of Lynch syndrome and thus, having a germline mutation may put the patient and family members at risk for additional malignancies.

“MSI testing is recommended for colorectal cancer patients because if a patient is found to have Lynch syndrome, we can develop a prevention and early detection plan to reduce his or her risk of developing the cancers associated with it,” Dr. Esnaola said. “We found that although compliance with testing guidelines increased over the years we studied, overall less than half of colorectal cancer patients less than 50 years old were getting tested.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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