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April 2017

Universal Genetic Testing for Younger Patients With Colorectal Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention and Clinical Cancer Genetics Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(4):448-449. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.5193

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the United States, diagnosed at a median age of 69 years for men and 72 years for women.1 Although CRC incidence and mortality have declined overall as a result of an increased uptake of screening,2 work remains to be done since 40% of eligible individuals are not compliant with CRC screening recommendations3 and CRC incidence is rising among adults younger than the screening age of 50 years.4 Hereditary cancer syndromes are implicated in approximately 5% of all CRC cases.5 Although the prevalence of genetic predisposition is likely higher among individuals who develop cancers at an early age, younger patients with CRC are significantly less likely than their counterparts with young-onset breast cancer to undergo genetic evaluation.6 Identification of hereditary cancer syndromes is important because morbidity can be averted through frequent endoscopic surveillance beginning at an early age.