PHILADELPHIA (January 20, 2017) – 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 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award.
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,” 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 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO supports breakthrough research, initiatives to improve the quality of and access to cancer care, and informational resources for patients and physicians.