FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) — As many as one in six colorectal cancer patients under the age of 50 have genetic traits that greatly increase the risk of cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in JAMA Oncology.
Rachel Pearlman, of the The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, and colleagues evaluated data for 450 patients who’d undergone surgery for colorectal cancer since 2013. All were between 17 and 49 years old.
The researchers found genetic mutations that increase the risk of cancer in 72 patients. Half of these individuals had Lynch syndrome. In about a third of these cases, investigators found that patients were at higher risk of cancer due to their genetics — but these patients wouldn’t have normally been screened under the usual guidelines.
“We expected to find a high rate of Lynch syndrome among these early-onset colon cancer patients. What was surprising were some of the other gene mutations found in the young colorectal cancer patients, including mutations in genes traditionally linked to breast cancer risk, even in patients whose family history was not suggestive of those mutations,” Pearlman said in an Ohio State news release. “Until multi-gene panel testing, we typically would not have tested a patient with colorectal cancer for mutations in those genes unless they met criteria based on their family history. There is still a lot to learn from these findings.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.
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