Oncology/Primary Care

Paired Tumor and Germline Testing for Lynch Syndrome: Increasing Clarity for Patients



The current diagnostic testing algorithm for Lynch syndrome (LS) is complex and often involves multiple follow-up germline and somatic tests. We aimed to describe the results of paired tumor/germline testing performed on a large cohort of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC) to better determine the utility of this novel testing methodology.

Materials and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of patients with CRC and EC undergoing paired tumor/germline analysis of the LS genes at a clinical diagnostic laboratory (N = 702). Microsatellite instability, MLH1 promoter hypermethylation, and germline testing of additional genes were performed if ordered. Patients were assigned to one of five groups on the basis of prior tumor screening and germline testing outcomes. Results for each group are described.


Overall results were informative regarding an LS diagnosis for 76.1% and 60.8% of patients with mismatch-repair–deficient (MMRd) CRC and EC without and with prior germline testing, respectively. LS germline mutations were identified in 24.8% of patients in the group without prior germline testing, and interestingly, in 9.5% of patients with previous germline testing; four of these were discordant with prior tumor screening. Upon excluding patients with MLH1 promoter hypermethylation and germline mutations, biallelic somatic inactivation was seen in approximately 50% of patients with MMRd tumors across groups.


Paired testing identified a cause for MMRd tumors in 76% and 61% of patients without and with prior LS germline testing, respectively. Findings support inclusion of tumor sequencing as well as comprehensive LS germline testing in the LS testing algorithm. Paired testing offers a complete, convenient evaluation for LS with high diagnostic resolution.

  • Title: Comprehensive Paired Tumor/Germline Testing for Lynch Syndrome: Bringing Resolution to the Diagnostic Process
  • Authors: Monalyn Umali Salvador; Melissa Truelson; Carla Mason; Beth Souders; Holly LaDuca; Brittany Dougall; Mary Helen Black; Kelly Fulk; Jessica Profato; Stephanie Gutierrez; Kory Jasperson; Brigette Tippin Davis; Hsiao-Mei Lu; Phillip N. Gray; Swati Shah; Elizabeth C. Chao; Negar Ghahramani; Megan Landsverk; Chia-Ling Gau; Daniel Chen; Melissa Pronold
  • Collaborators: University of California, Irvine
  • Journal: Journal of Clinical Oncology
  • Date: 2019 - Feb

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