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Study: Wide genetic testing for Lynch Syndrome cost effective

--added 11/18/10

ANN ARBOR, MI --

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.

Additional authors: Tuan A. Dinh, Benjamin I. Rosner, James C. Atwood, from Archimedes Inc.; C. Richard Boland, from Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas; Sapna Syngal, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Hans F. A. Vasen, from Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands; and Randall W. Burt, from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

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Written by: Nicole Fawcett

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