The joint effort between UT Southwestern and Parkland Memorial Hospital allows doctors to screen the tumors of colorectal cancer patients younger than 70, and uterine cancer patients younger than 55, to determine if there is a high risk for a genetic cancer predisposition syndrome. If a predisposition syndrome is found, patients are encouraged to bring in as many family members as possible for testing.
"If we can bring in family members of those who have been diagnosed, we have a chance to catch their colon cancer early and even prevent it," said Dr. Samir Gupta, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and head of the high-risk colorectal cancer clinic started at Parkland this year.
Through this unusual tumor-testing protocol, 11 patients have already been identified with Lynch syndrome, one of the more common inherited conditions, accounting for 3 percent to 5 percent of all colon cancers. The colorectal cancer clinic's aim is to test up to 50 family members among the 11 patients for the same condition. Those with Lynch syndrome have an 80 percent risk of contracting colorectal cancer, up to 60 percent risk for uterine cancer and higher than average risks for other cancer types.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. In light of this, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas recently awarded UT Southwestern a $1.5 million grant to further its genetic testing efforts. The grant, whose principal investigator is Dr. David Euhus, professor of surgical oncology, funds family history assessments and genetic counseling among low-income and minority communities in Dallas and five surrounding counties, focusing on those at risk for Lynch and hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndromes.
"If a parent has Lynch syndrome, there's a 50 percent chance one of their kids will also get it," said Linda Robinson, genetic counselor supervisor at UT Southwestern. "We're sometimes the first people telling them they're not going to die of cancer. We know what it's caused by, and we can prevent it."
Although hereditary colorectal cancer is rare, its family impact can be widespread. Cancer tends to develop rapidly in those with Lynch syndrome and is often undiagnosed until the disease is advanced. But with early screenings and monitoring, the syndrome does not have to be a death sentence.
"I think I'll live a long time," said Regina Ontiveroz, a 34-year-old Flower Mound woman who was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome through a blood test at UT Southwestern last year.
Ms. Ontiveroz lost her father, grandmother, two uncles and an aunt to cancer. She always suspected a hereditary factor, which was confirmed two years ago when a cousin with cancer was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome. "It's like this dark cloud that follows me wherever I go," she said.
But Ms. Ontiveroz, a nurse, has never been diagnosed with cancer. She credits UT Southwestern's genetic counseling program, a healthy lifestyle and annual screenings. Recently, she had a hysterectomy and removal of her ovaries as another preventive measure.
"That's the benefit of genetic testing. Not only was she aware she was at risk of getting cancer, she could act and get ahead of the game," said Heather Fecteau, a genetic counselor at UT Southwestern.
A blood test will reveal if a person has any of the four mutated genes associated with Lynch syndrome. For the diagnosed family member, the recommendations are for annual or every-other-year colonoscopies starting at age 25 and, for women, removal of ovaries and the uterus after child-bearing age. Other cancer screenings may be suggested, depending on the specific genetic mutation.
If cancer runs in the family, or a family member was diagnosed at an unusually young age for that cancer type, genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes may be recommended. Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/cancer to learn more about UT Southwestern's clinical services in cancer, including genetic testing, or call 866-460-4673.
This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home/news/index.html
To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via email, subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews
Debbie Bolles | EurekAlert!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy