American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

Wide Genetic Testing for Lynch Syndrome Cost Effective

November 18, 2010

Bookmark and Share

• Identifying Lynch Syndrome could prevent colon/endometrial cancer.

• AACR hosted teleconference on Nov. 18, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. ET.
• Henry Lynch, discoverer of the syndrome, participated.

PHILADELPHIA — Widespread genetic testing for Lynch Syndrome appears to be a cost-effective strategy for identifying those at risk for colorectal and endometrial cancer, according to a report in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Genetic testing was always assumed to be cost effective for those at high risk based on their family history, but this shows it would be cost effective in a wider population, similar to the cost effectiveness of mammography,” said Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., director for cancer prevention and control at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a lead researcher on the study.

Gruber and colleagues used a mathematical model developed by Archimedes Inc., which showed when risk, based on family history, was assessed starting at ages 25, 30 or 35, followed by genetic testing for those who had risk exceeding 5 percent, colorectal cancers could be reduced by 12.4 percent and endometrial cancers by 8.8 percent. The average cost effectiveness ratio, a measure of expenditure per life year gained by the new strategy would be $26,000, a value favorably below the often-quoted benchmark of $50,000.

The American Association for Cancer Research hosted a teleconference on these findings on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Download * the mp3 of the teleconference (10.5 MB,  46 minutes and 13 seconds)

*On a PC, right mouse click on the "Download" link and select "Save link as..." in Firefox or "Save Target as..." in Internet Explorer.

AACR President-elect Judy Garber, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, hosted the teleconference.


“This will affect a wide population by changing our thinking about risk for colon cancer. Young individuals will be able to have an assessment of their personal and family history using a computerized model that can help guide their colon cancer risk management for decades, and make it possible to prevent significant numbers of colon and associated cancers, especially in young people, for a very reasonable cost. It is a huge step forward in terms of bringing the benefits of cancer genetics to the broader population using tests that have, in the past, been considered too expensive,” said Garber.

The following panelists participated in this teleconference:

Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., director for cancer prevention and control at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a lead researcher on the study

Heather Hampel, M.S., associate director of the division of human genetics and professor in the department of internal medicine at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute

“Genetic testing is the most expensive way to test for Lynch Syndrome, but it is also the most effective. Lynch Syndrome is under-recognized and anything we can do to raise awareness and encourage diagnosis will help save lives,” said Hampel.

Henry Lynch, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Hereditary Cancer Center at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, who discovered Lynch Syndrome

“I first presented this hereditary concept in 1964, and since then it has become more accepted. However, cost has always been a hurdle. With this new information about cost, we’ll be able to save a lot of lives and as a medical oncologist I feel very good about that,” said Lynch.

Randall W. Burt, M.D., professor of medicine and director of prevention and outreach, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and co-researcher on the paper

Tuan A. Dinh, Ph.D., head of cancer modeling at Archimedes Inc., and developer of the modeling system to calculate anticipated health benefits and cost effectiveness

# # #

Follow the AACR on Twitter: @AACR #AACR
Follow the AACR on Facebook:

Subscribe to the AACR Scientific Podcasts via iTunes OR an RSS Reader to download the video podcasts and recordings of the press conferences.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 32,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.

Media Contact:  
Jeremy Moore
(267) 646-0557