Genetically signaled colon cancer patients can get targeted treatment, unlike women with increased breast cancer risk based on genetics
NORWALK, Conn., Feb. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica's ONCOLOGY and CancerNetwork today announced that the April issue will feature insights by physicians from the clinical genetics service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in which they explain the role of genetic testing in gastrointestinal cancers.
In the article, Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH, and colleagues bring clarity to when, why—and to what end—to refer patients for genetic testing for GI cancers. Using a case-based approach to illustrate what is known and unknown about weak and strong hereditary factors for GI cancers, the authors demonstrate how this knowledge can be used to improve outcomes in those who are predisposed to developing these malignancies.
"While there has been extraordinary attention paid by oncologists ... to inherited breast and ovarian cancer, the syndromes of predisposition to colon, gastric, and other GI cancers are of equal importance," said Dr. Offit, who is currently Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He noted that although "the genetics of hereditary colon cancer, for example, appears much more complex than breast cancer, as it involves several genes and dominant as well as recessive forms of inheritance," genetic counseling and testing for colon cancer risk has an important advantage: the availability of targeted endoscopic surveillance to remove premalignant lesions. The authors point out that "there are relatively few diseases in which early identification of at-risk individuals can have such dramatic outcomes from primary disease prevention."
The authors include Kasmintan Schrader, MD, Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH, and Zsofia K. Stadler, MD. Dr. Offit is known world-wide for his work in cancer genetics. It was his research group that in 1996 first described the common genetic mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are associated with increased breast cancer risk.
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