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The Emerging Role of Genetic Testing in Colorectal Cancer

Pashtoon M. Kasi, MD, MBBS, MS
Published Online:2:02 PM, Tue April 9, 2019

Pashtoon M. Kasi, MD, MBBS, MS, assistant professor of oncology and senior associate consultant in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Mayo Clinic, discusses how genetic testing is underutilized in colorectal cancer (CRC), despite its ability to guide treatment dosing and adjustment based on the mutations or variations within a patient.

In CRC, specific genes are known to metabolize 5-fluorouracil, capecitabine, or irinotecan. Historical analyses have also shown that patients do much worse in regard to toxicities when given chemotherapy if they harbor a gene abberration, but Kasi says the frequency in which this aberration appears is underestimated.

Genetic testing is feasible in the treatment landscape of CRC as results can be obtained within 3 to 5 days in order to help guide the treatment selection process. Kasi says there are also available guidelines showing how much chemotherapy a patient should receive considering different aberrations that may be present.
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