Improved Universal Tumor Screening Program with Paired Testing: Experience at a Large Community-Based Teaching Hospital.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Oncology


Background: Lynch syndrome (LS) is the most common cause of hereditary predisposition to colon, endometrial, and other cancers. The universal tumor screening program for LS at Beaumont Health (BH) utilizes immunohistochemistry (IHC) of the mismatch repair (MMR) proteins to identify patients for genetics evaluation. We present the 8-year experience of the program at a large community-based teaching hospital. Methods: The MMR IHC results for all colorectal cancer (CRC) resection specimens screened from August 2012 to September 2020 were reviewed. Specimens with absent MLH1 and PMS2 were evaluated for MLH1 promoter hypermethylation with reflex to BRAF V600E mutation analysis. All abnormal results were referred for cancer genetics evaluation. The distribution of abnormal MMR and germline genetic testing results was analyzed. Results: Specimens from 2361 CRC resections were screened, and 511 specimens had abnormal MMR IHC (22%). Most cases of absent MLH1 and PMS2 were explained by hypermethylation or BRAF analysis (n = 338, 66% of all abnormal, 89% of MLH1 and PMS2). Of the remaining cases showing MMR deficiency (n = 173), the most common result was absence of MSH2 and MSH6 (n = 67), followed by absence of MLH1 and PMS2 (n=41, see table). Germline genetic testing of 83 individuals with abnormal MMR IHC revealed 49 cases of Lynch syndrome [MLH1 (n=9), MSH2 (n= 25), MSH6 (n=7), PMS2 (n=7), EPCAM (n=1)]. A significant proportion of cases (n=34, 40%) had negative germline testing, and had unexplained MMR deficiency. Paired germline/tumor testing was implemented in 2017, and 14 patients had this analysis. Using this approach, 5 individuals were identified to have somatic mutations explaining their result, and the proportion of unexplained cases was reduced to 29% (n = 4). Conclusions: Recent advances in cancer screening and therapeutics have underscored the importance of analyzing tumors for mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR), with known challenges to implementation and interpretation of results. The BH cancer genetics program has demonstrated successful growth of a universal tumor screening program over 8 years. This has led to the identification of a large number of dMMR tumors (22% of all CRC resections) and LS cases (2% of all CRC resections), which impacts management for patients and their families. Recent implementation of paired germline/tumor testing has improved the testing algorithm, and resulted in more accurate interpretation of a greater proportion of abnormal IHC results. This combined approach allows for focused high-risk screening for LS patients, access to novel therapeutic interventions including immune therapies for patients with dMMR tumors, and future precision oncology approaches.




15 (suppl. 1)

First Page



Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Virtual, June 4-8, 2021.