Patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer at age 35 or younger should receive genetic counseling regardless of their phenotype or family history, a new study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown.

Current guidelines recommend that clinicians evaluate patients younger than 50 years diagnosed with colorectal cancer for hereditary cancer syndromes; however, adolescents and young adults with colorectal cancer have not been well-studied regarding the extent of hereditary cancer syndromes.

For the study, researchers analyzed data collected from 193 patients who underwent genetic counseling at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, between 2009 and 2013. Of those, 35% had an identifiable hereditary cancer syndrome.

Continue Reading

Twenty-three patients had Lynch syndrome, 22 had mutation-negative Lynch syndrome, and 16 had familial adenomatous polyposis, among others.

RELATED: Statin Use Linked with Lower Mortality after Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

Results showed that patients without a hereditary syndrome were more likely to present with metastatic disease, while patients with a hereditary syndrome more frequently presented at earlier stages and were more likely to have a family history of cancer.

However, researchers found that 19% of those diagnosed with hereditary syndromes had no family history of cancer.


  1. Mork ME, You YN, Ying J, et al. High prevalence of hereditary cancer syndromes in adolescents and young adults with colorectal cancerJ Clin Oncol. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1200.JCO.2015.61.4503.