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Study: New process that can save at-risk cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly
Date:8/16/2011

SALT LAKE CITY People at risk for a certain form of colon and other types of cancer may soon have a better chance at surviving or even avoiding the diseases, thanks to a new study done by the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital.

The Intermountain Heathcare group of scientists used sophisticated computer modeling to determine a reliable and cost-effective way to identify patients who may have Lynch syndrome, an inherited cancer syndrome that occurs in people who carry a genetic mutation in one of the DNA mismatch repair genes.

The mismatch repair (MMR) genes usually help to repair DNA damage that happens to all of us as a part of daily life. But patients who have genetic mutations in these genes have a substantially increased risk of developing colon, uterine, pancreatic and urologic cancers. For some patients, the lifetime risk approaches 80 percent.

"Being able to identify people who carry a gene change is profoundly important because earlier and more frequent screening not just for colon cancer, but also for other cancers could save their lives. It could also save the lives of relatives who have no idea that they may share the increased risk for cancer," says Marc S. Williams, MD, director of the Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital, and a member of the team that conducted the study, which is published in the August edition of the American Journal of Managed Care.

A national report on colon cancer a few years ago recommended screening all patients with colon cancer for Lynch syndrome, but stopped short of outlining the best way to do it.

"There are many tests available that can be used in different combinations to diagnose Lynch syndrome, but there's little clarity about what's the most effective and efficient approach," says James Gudgeon, an analyst with the Clinical Genetics Institute who led the study.

"Doing full genome sequencing on all colorectal cancer patients w
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Contact: Jess C. Gomez
jess.gomez@imail.org
801-507-7455
Intermountain Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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