Researchers at the University of Utah's
Huntsman Cancer Institute have identified a genetic variant in the MET
proto-oncogene predictive of colon cancer risk for individuals with a family
history of colon cancer. Presence of this variant is associated with
cancer diagnosis at an average age of 63 years, 8 years earlier than the average
age of diagnosis in the general population. Genetic testing for this variant
will allow improved assessment of risk for individuals with a history of
familial colon cancer.
Features & Benefits
- Genetic testing for the MET gene variant, especially for those with a
family history of colon cancer, would identify individuals who would most
benefit by frequent and early screening.
- A more comprehensive and widely applicable test could be created by
adding the MET gene variant to existing genetic testing panels for evaluating
inherited colon cancer risk.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the
fourth most common cancer in the United States and worldwide, the second leading
cause of cancer death, leading to a cost of approximately $14B to the US
healthcare system. It has been estimated that up to 30% of CRC is due to
genetic factors. About 5-8% of colon cancers are associated with well
defined genetic syndromes, including hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer
(HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Approximately 20% of
additional CRC cases involve patients with a strong family history, consistent
with inherited risk, but for whom no genetic marker of risk is
Intellectual Property: An international patent
application was filed in July 2012.
Inventors: Dr. Deborah Neklason and Dr. Randall Burt,
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
Related Publications: Neklason,
et al; "Activating mutaion in MET oncogen in familial colorectal cancer",
BMC Cancer, 2011 11:424