City of Hope’s precision oncology tumor board able to identify patients who may have inherited increased risk for colorectal cancer

Zen Vuong
The systematic, multidisciplinary precision medicine techniques developed at City of Hope have the potential to save the lives of many, especially colorectal cancer patients predisposed with higher risk of colorectal cancer at a younger age.
DUARTE, Calif. — City of Hope has compiled a premier precision oncology tumor board that systematically looks at malignancies to identify patients who could benefit from a lifesaving genetic evaluation for inherited susceptibility to colorectal cancer. A City of Hope physician-scientist will share the team’s early findings at this year’s Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancer (CGA-IGC) meeting, which kicks off today.
While many cancer centers analyze the cell mutations an individual developed over his or her lifetime (“somatic sequencing”), City of Hope is one of the few institutions in the nation to also screen for genetic susceptibility that can be passed through generations (“germline sequencing”). In fact, City of Hope is on pace to be the only major cancer center in the United States to offer genomic testing for all patients and family members who require follow-up.
“Multidisciplinary review of the DNA found in the tumors of colorectal cancer patients provides an unexpected benefit – it helps doctors identify patients who inherited a predisposition for colorectal cancer. These patients can then be referred for a genetics evaluation and, if needed, receive heightened preventive screening or targeted treatment for colorectal cancer,” said Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Precision Medicine at City of Hope and senior author of the poster presentation.
About 1,130 City of Hope patient tumors underwent a best-in-class genomics test called GEM ExTra, which analyzes all protein-coding regions of DNA (“whole exome”) and all RNA (the messengers of DNA). Nearly 10% of the patients included in this study were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
City of Hope’s precision oncology tumor board used specific criteria to identify patients who should be referred for an inherited susceptibility genetic evaluation, resulting in a 24% increase in cancer genetics referrals.
“The City of Hope precision oncology tumor board has a special focus on inherited susceptibility that brings the lifesaving power of genetics not only to patients but also to their families, and that’s quite unique,” said Kevin McDonnell, M.D., Ph.D., a medical oncologist specializing in clinical cancer genetics at City of Hope and co-lead author of the poster presentation.
City of Hope is further developing its precision medicine infrastructure with the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of leading medical experts in their respective fields, support staff and enterprise leadership enthusiastic about expanding personalized care for patients, said Christine Hong, a trained genetic counselor and precision medicine project manager at City of Hope. She is co-lead author of the poster presentation. 
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re excited to see how far the team has progressed in such a short span of time,” Hong said. “The City of Hope team is diligently working to develop a first-in-class precision medicine program for the benefit of patients with cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.”
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About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope has been ranked among the nation’s “Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on FacebookTwitterYouTube or Instagram.