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NCCN Increases the Emphasis on Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment in Colorectal Cancer

Heather Hampel

NCCN has developed new guidelines for the assessment of high-risk familial/genetic colorectal cancer, and has positioned these recommendations within the guidelines for detection, prevention, and risk reduction. The Panel recommends that all patients with colorectal cancer be screened for Lynch syndrome, which occurs in 1 of every 35 patients and is the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer. Such screening could be universal so that all tumors are genetically tested, or screening could be restricted to patients under the age of 70 and those aged 70 and older who meet clinical criteria.

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Point: Justification for Lynch Syndrome Screening Among All Patients With Newly Diagnosed Colorectal Cancer

Heather Hampel

Either microsatellite instability testing or immunohistochemical staining for the 4 mismatch repair proteins (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2) should be performed on all newly diagnosed colorectal cancers. This testing will identify tumors that are microsatellite unstable, which has implications for patient prognosis and possibly treatment. In addition, it will identify patients who are more likely to have Lynch syndrome. Of every 35 colorectal cancer patients, 1 has Lynch syndrome, the most common hereditary cause of colorectal and endometrial cancers. Diagnosis of Lynch syndrome affects the medical management of the patient and their relatives, with potentially life-saving ramifications. Although screening only a subset of patients with colorectal cancer based on age at diagnosis, family history, or histologic criteria will reduce the number of screening tests necessary, it will miss a significant proportion of patients with microsatellite unstable colorectal cancer and many patients with Lynch syndrome. Given that universal screening of all patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer using immunohistochemistry as the initial test was recently shown to be cost-effective and comparable with other widely accepted preventive services, it is not necessary to try to reduce costs by restricting screening to a subset of patients, which leads to a reduction in the efficacy of the screening program.

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Constitutional MLH1 Methylation Is a Major Contributor to Mismatch Repair–Deficient, MLH1-Methylated Colorectal Cancer in Patients Aged 55 Years and Younger

Megan P. Hitchins, Estela Dámaso, Rocio Alvarez, Lisa Zhou, Yajing Hu, Marcio A. Diniz, Marta Pineda, Gabriel Capella, Rachel Pearlman, and Heather Hampel

Background: Most mismatch repair–deficient (MMRd) colorectal cancer (CRC) cases arise sporadically, associated with somatic MLH1 methylation, whereas approximately 20% have germline mismatch repair pathogenic variants causing Lynch syndrome (LS). Universal screening of incident CRC uses presence of MLH1 methylation in MMRd tumors to exclude sporadic cases from germline testing for LS. However, this overlooks rare cases with constitutional MLH1 methylation (epimutation), a poorly recognized mechanism for LS. We aimed to assess the frequency and age distribution of constitutional MLH1 methylation among incident CRC cases with MMRd, MLH1-methylated tumors. Methods: In retrospective population-based studies, we selected all CRC cases with MMRd, MLH1-methylated tumors, regardless of age, prior cancer, family history, or BRAF V600E status, from the Columbus-area HNPCC study (Columbus) and Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative (OCCPI) cohorts. Blood DNA was tested for constitutional MLH1 methylation by pyrosequencing and real-time methylation-specific PCR, then confirmed with bisulfite-sequencing. Results: Results were achieved for 95 of 98 Columbus cases and all 281 OCCPI cases. Constitutional MLH1 methylation was identified in 4 of 95 (4%) Columbus cases, ages 34, 38, 52, and 74 years, and 4 of 281 (1.4%) OCCPI cases, ages 20, 34, 50, and 55 years, with 3 showing low-level mosaic methylation. Mosaicism in blood and normal colon, plus tumor loss of heterozygosity of the unmethylated allele, demonstrated causality in 1 case with sample availability. Age stratification showed high rates of constitutional MLH1 methylation among younger patients. In the Columbus and OCCPI cohorts, respectively, these rates were 67% (2 of 3) and 25% (2 of 8) of patients aged <50 years but with half of the cases missed, and 75% (3 of 4) and 23.5% (4 of 17) of patients aged ≤55 years with most cases detected. Conclusions: Although rare overall, a significant proportion of younger patients with MLH1-methylated CRC had underlying constitutional MLH1 methylation. Routine testing for this high-risk mechanism is warranted in patients aged ≤55 years for a timely and accurate molecular diagnosis that will significantly alter their clinical management while minimizing additional testing.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening

Randall W. Burt, Jamie A. Cannon, Donald S. David, Dayna S. Early, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Heather Hampel, Mohammad K. Ismail, Kory Jasperson, Jason B. Klapman, Audrey J. Lazenby, Patrick M. Lynch, Robert J. Mayer, Reid M. Ness, Dawn Provenzale, M. Sambasiva Rao, Moshe Shike, Gideon Steinbach, Jonathan P. Terdiman, David Weinberg, Mary Dwyer, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Mortality from colorectal cancer can be reduced by early diagnosis and by cancer prevention through polypectomy. These NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening describe various colorectal screening modalities and recommended screening schedules for patients at average or increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. In addition, the guidelines provide recommendations for the management of patients with high-risk colorectal cancer syndromes, including Lynch syndrome. Screening approaches for Lynch syndrome are also described.

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Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal Version 1.2016, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Dawn Provenzale, Samir Gupta, Dennis J. Ahnen, Travis Bray, Jamie A. Cannon, Gregory Cooper, Donald S. David, Dayna S. Early, Deborah Erwin, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, William Grady, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Heather Hampel, Mohammad K. Ismail, Jason B. Klapman, David W. Larson, Audrey J. Lazenby, Patrick M. Lynch, Robert J. Mayer, Reid M. Ness, Scott E. Regenbogen, Niloy Jewel Samadder, Moshe Shike, Gideon Steinbach, David Weinberg, Mary Dwyer, and Susan Darlow

This is a focused update highlighting the most current NCCN Guidelines for diagnosis and management of Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of hereditary colorectal cancer, usually resulting from a germline mutation in 1 of 4 DNA mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2), or deletions in the EPCAM promoter. Patients with Lynch syndrome are at an increased lifetime risk, compared with the general population, for colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and other cancers, including of the stomach and ovary. As of 2016, the panel recommends screening all patients with colorectal cancer for Lynch syndrome and provides recommendations for surveillance for early detection and prevention of Lynch syndrome-associated cancers.

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Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian

Mary B. Daly, Jennifer E. Axilbund, Saundra Buys, Beth Crawford, Carolyn D. Farrell, Susan Friedman, Judy E. Garber, Salil Goorha, Stephen B. Gruber, Heather Hampel, Virginia Kaklamani, Wendy Kohlmann, Allison Kurian, Jennifer Litton, P. Kelly Marcom, Robert Nussbaum, Kenneth Offit, Tuya Pal, Boris Pasche, Robert Pilarski, Gwen Reiser, Kristen Mahoney Shannon, Jeffrey R. Smith, Elizabeth Swisher, and Jeffrey N. Weitzel

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Colorectal Cancer Screening, Version 1.2015

Dawn Provenzale, Kory Jasperson, Dennis J. Ahnen, Harry Aslanian, Travis Bray, Jamie A. Cannon, Donald S. David, Dayna S. Early, Deborah Erwin, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, Samir Gupta, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Heather Hampel, Mohammad K. Ismail, Jason B. Klapman, David W. Larson, Audrey J. Lazenby, Patrick M. Lynch, Robert J. Mayer, Reid M. Ness, M. Sambasiva Rao, Scott E. Regenbogen, Moshe Shike, Gideon Steinbach, David Weinberg, Mary A. Dwyer, Deborah A. Freedman-Cass, and Susan Darlow

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Colorectal Cancer Screening provide recommendations for selecting individuals for colorectal cancer screening, and for evaluation and follow-up of colon polyps. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize major discussion points of the 2015 NCCN Colorectal Cancer Screening panel meeting. Major discussion topics this year were the state of evidence for CT colonography and stool DNA testing, bowel preparation procedures for colonoscopy, and guidelines for patients with a positive family history of colorectal cancer.

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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal, Version 3.2017

Samir Gupta, Dawn Provenzale, Scott E. Regenbogen, Heather Hampel, Thomas P. Slavin Jr, Michael J. Hall, Xavier Llor, Daniel C. Chung, Dennis J. Ahnen, Travis Bray, Gregory Cooper, Dayna S. Early, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, William Grady, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Jason B. Klapman, David W. Larson, Audrey J. Lazenby, Patrick M. Lynch, Arnold J. Markowitz, Robert J. Mayer, Reid M. Ness, Niloy Jewel Samadder, Moshe Shike, Shajanpeter Sugandha, Jennifer M. Weiss, Mary A. Dwyer, and Ndiya Ogba

The NCCN Guidelines for Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal provide recommendations for the management of patients with high-risk syndromes associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). The NCCN Panel for Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal meets at least annually to assess comments from reviewers within their institutions, examine relevant data, and reevaluate and update their recommendations. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on genes newly associated with CRC risk on multigene panels, the associated evidence, and currently recommended management strategies.

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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Colorectal Cancer Screening, Version 1.2018

Dawn Provenzale, Samir Gupta, Dennis J. Ahnen, Arnold J. Markowitz, Daniel C. Chung, Robert J. Mayer, Scott E. Regenbogen, Amie M. Blanco, Travis Bray, Gregory Cooper, Dayna S. Early, James M. Ford, Francis M. Giardiello, William Grady, Michael J. Hall, Amy L. Halverson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Heather Hampel, Jason B. Klapman, David W. Larson, Audrey J. Lazenby, Xavier Llor, Patrick M. Lynch, June Mikkelson, Reid M. Ness, Thomas P. Slavin Jr, Shajanpeter Sugandha, Jennifer M. Weiss, Mary A. Dwyer, and Ndiya Ogba

The NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening outline various screening modalities as well as recommended screening strategies for individuals at average or increased-risk of developing sporadic CRC. The NCCN panel meets at least annually to review comments from reviewers within their institutions, examine relevant data, and reevaluate and update their recommendations. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize 2018 updates to the NCCN Guidelines, with a primary focus on modalities used to screen individuals at average-risk for CRC.

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NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal, Version 1.2021

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Jennifer M. Weiss, Samir Gupta, Carol A. Burke, Lisen Axell, Lee-May Chen, Daniel C. Chung, Katherine M. Clayback, Susan Dallas, Seth Felder, Olumide Gbolahan, Francis M. Giardiello, William Grady, Michael J. Hall, Heather Hampel, Rachel Hodan, Gregory Idos, Priyanka Kanth, Bryson Katona, Laura Lamps, Xavier Llor, Patrick M. Lynch, Arnold J. Markowitz, Sara Pirzadeh-Miller, Niloy Jewel Samadder, David Shibata, Benjamin J. Swanson, Brittany M. Szymaniak, Georgia L. Wiesner, Andrew Wolf, Matthew B. Yurgelun, Mae Zakhour, Susan D. Darlow, Mary A. Dwyer, and Mallory Campbell

Identifying individuals with hereditary syndromes allows for timely cancer surveillance, opportunities for risk reduction, and syndrome-specific management. Establishing criteria for hereditary cancer risk assessment allows for the identification of individuals who are carriers of pathogenic genetic variants. The NCCN Guidelines for Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal provides recommendations for the assessment and management of patients at risk for or diagnosed with high-risk colorectal cancer syndromes. The NCCN Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal panel meets annually to evaluate and update their recommendations based on their clinical expertise and new scientific data. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)/attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP) syndrome and considerations for management of duodenal neoplasia.