Bethesda, MD (Aug. 5, 2014) — Of the 143,000 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer annually in the U.S., up to 25 percent have a familial risk of colorectal cancer. A new guideline from the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer recommends genetic testing of tumors for all newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients. The task force makes specific surveillance and management recommendations for those affected by a genetic condition called Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of inherited colorectal cancer, accounting for approximately 3 percent, or more than 4,000, of the newly diagnosed cases in the U.S. each year.
Universal Tumor Testing
Universal genetic testing of the tumors for evidence of mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients is recommended for several reasons:
1. Use of clinical criteria and prediction models to identify patients with Lynch syndrome have less than optimal sensitivity and specificity.
2. It has been shown to be cost effective for the diagnosis of Lynch syndrome.
3. It has greater sensitivity for identification of Lynch syndrome compared with other strategies, including Bethesda guidelines, or a selective tumor testing strategy.
Genetic Counseling and Confirmatory Germline Genetic Testing
Individuals whose tumor shows evidence of MMR deficiency, have a known MMR gene mutation in the family, who meet clinical criteria for Lynch syndrome, or who have a personal risk of greater than or equal to 5 percent chance of Lynch syndrome based on prediction models should undergo a genetic evaluation for Lynch syndrome. Germline genetic testing has the following advantages:
1. It can confirm a diagnosis of Lynch syndrome in the patient.
2. It can determine the status of at-risk family members in families in which disease mutation has been found.
3. It can direct the management of affected and unaffected individuals.
Management of Lynch Syndrome
Patients with Lynch syndrome are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, as well as cancers outside of the colon. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer recommends that annual history, physical examination, and patient and family education regarding the risk of cancer should start between the ages of 20 and 25 years. In addition, the following recommendations are made for patients with or at risk of Lynch syndrome:
Routine screening of the small intestine, pancreas, prostate and breasts are not recommended.
There are two treatments recommended for patients affected with Lynch syndrome:
1. Removal of the large intestine: Colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis, which removes the large intestine and attaches the small intestine to the rectum, is the primary treatment for patients affected by Lynch syndrome who have colon cancer or precancerous colon polyps that cannot be removed by colonoscopy. Less extensive surgery can be considered for patients older than 60 to 65 years of age.
2. Aspirin therapy: There is growing evidence that the use of aspirin is beneficial in preventing cancer in Lynch syndrome patients. While the evidence is not conclusive, treatment of an individual patient with aspirin is a consideration after discussing patient-specific risks, benefits and uncertainties of treatment.
In the U.S., colorectal cancer is a major health problem — it is the second leading cause of cancer death, causing nearly 51,000 deaths each year. Environmental causes and inheritance play varying roles in different patients with colorectal cancer. About 20 to 30 percent of colorectal cancer patients appear to have a familial risk and a minority has a genetic mutation that contributed to the development of the disease.
The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer is composed of gastroenterology specialists with a special interest in colorectal cancer, representing the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Experts on Lynch syndrome from academia and private practice were invited authors of this guideline. Representatives of the Collaborative Group of the Americans on Inherited Colorectal Cancers and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons also reviewed the manuscript.
The consensus statement, "Guidelines on Genetic Evaluation and Management of Lynch Syndrome: A Consensus Statement by the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer," is published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute; American Journal of Gastroenterology, the official journal of ACG; Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, the official journal of ASCRS; and GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the official journal of ASGE.
About the AGA Institute
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.
About the American College of Gastroenterology
Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of more than 12,000 individuals from 80 countries. The College is committed to serving the clinically oriented digestive disease specialist through its emphasis on scholarly practice, teaching and research. The mission of the College is to serve the evolving needs of physicians in the delivery of high quality, scientifically sound, humanistic, ethical, and cost-effective health care to gastroenterology patients. http://www.gi.org.
About the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) is the premier society for colon and rectal surgeons and other surgeons dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and practice of the treatment of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the colon, rectum and anus. More than 1,000 of the Society's 3,000 members are certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. ASCRS believes that diseases of the colon, rectum and anus are significant health problems; that people deserve the best quality care for these diseases; and improvement in recognition, treatment and ultimate eradication of these diseases as well as in the quality of patient care is enhanced by the professionalism, development of knowledge and dissemination of information fostered by the fellowship of Society members.
About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence and innovation in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 13,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit http://www.asge.org and http://www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.
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