New Colorectal Cancer Guidelines Help Laboratory Professionals Identify Most Relevant Tests
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Each year, approximately 150,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Among cancers that affect both men and women, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the nation. More than 50,000 people die from it each year. Regular screenings, beginning at age 50, help reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Advancements in scientific research are dramatically improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with colorectal cancer, yet the challenge for pathologists and laboratory professionals is to filter through all of the research to determine which diagnostic tests are the most relevant for a patient.
“With so much data out there, it is difficult for molecular pathologists like me who develop the tests to decide on what is the clinically relevant test for the patient.”
— Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD, FASCP
“With so much data out there, it is difficult for molecular pathologists like me who develop the tests to decide on what is the clinically relevant test for the patient,” says Allison Cushman-Vokoun, MD, PhD, FASCP, Assistant Professor and Medical Director of Molecular Diagnostics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.
To assist pathologists, ASCP is collaborating with two other medical societies to develop guidelines which examine genetic alterations and how to test them in a laboratory, as well as determine which test to use. The guidelines should be available for preliminary review and public comment later this year.
When approved, the guidelines will establish evidence-based recommendations for the molecular testing of colorectal cancer tissues to guide epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) directed therapies and conventional chemotherapy regimens, summarize emerging molecular testing approaches for colorectal cancer, and provide insight on needed studies.
“It is crucial that pathologists and medical laboratory professionals be able to sort through the data and evidence and to work with our clinical colleagues to help them determine the best test to use and why they are ordering the tests in order to improve the quality of patient care,” says Dr. Cushman-Vokoun, who serves on a panel of medical experts that are developing the guidelines.
Don’t miss ASCP’s March 14 webcast, Perspectives on Lynch Syndrome Testing. Lynch Syndrome, also known as Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer, is an inherited disorder that predisposes patients to increased risk for colonic adenocarcinoma, and other cancers. For details, click here.