Underutilization of Lynch Syndrome Screening at Two Large Veterans Affairs Medical Centers

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Digestive diseases and sciences


BACKGROUND: Lynch syndrome (LS) is the most common hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) syndrome, yet is grossly under-recognized. Multiple professional societies recommend screening all CRCs for LS by performing tumor testing. The veterans affairs system has not adopted universal tumor testing as a national performance metric and leaves screening for LS to clinical care at individual sites.

AIMS: Describe adherence to LS screening in the VA system.

METHODS: Dual-center, retrospective review of all CRCs diagnosed between 2010 and 2016. Rates of tumor testing, personal and family history of cancer were extracted from the medical record. Univariate and multivariate regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of tumor-based screening for LS.

RESULTS: A total of 421 cancers were reviewed. 15.1% of all cancers underwent either MSI and/or IHC for LS screening over the study period. There was improvement in LS screening from 3% of all CRCs in 2010 to 45% of all CRCs in 2016. 34% and 70% of patients did not have documentation of CRC in first- and second-degree relatives, respectively. Of the 73 patients who met one of the Revised Bethesda Criteria or had a PREMM1,2,6 score of ≥ 5, 34% and 56% underwent tumor testing, respectively. Younger age, non-Caucasian race, meeting Bethesda or PREMM1,2,6 criteria and right-sided tumor location were predictors of undergoing tumor testing.

CONCLUSIONS: CRC tumor screening for LS is grossly inadequate when left to routine clinical care. Our results lend support to implementation of reflexive universal tumor testing within the VA system.

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ePub ahead of print