When and How to Do Genetic Testing for Inherited Colon Cancer Syndromes

The 2013 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology address the evaluation and management of patients at risk of inherited susceptibility to colorectal cancer. These patients include the 2 broad categories of patients with familial adenomatous polyposis and its variants, and those with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, or Lynch Syndrome. This article provides a somewhat personal, yet hopefully evidence-based, approach to the questions of when to test individuals for inherited susceptibility, and how to do so. “When” can be taken to mean “under what circumstance” and “at what age”; this article attempts to speak to each sense of the term.

Target Audience

This activity has been designated to meet the educational needs of physicians and nurses involved in the management of patients with cancer.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Explain factors to consider when deciding whether to perform APC testing for possible FAP
  • Summarize appropriate criteria for tumor testing for possible Lynch syndrome in patients with colorectal cancer
  • Discuss the potential role of a universal testing strategy (UTS) for Lynch syndrome
Additional information

No commercial support was received for this article.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Participation
  • 1.00 Nurse
  • 1.00 Physician
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Patrick M. Lynch, JD, MD
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
Division of Internal Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Participation
  • 1.00 Nurse
  • 1.00 Physician


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Required Hardware/software

To access this activity, users will need:

  • A device with an Internet connection
  • Adobe Reader or other PDF reader software for article and certificate viewing/printing