Expert Point of View: Shannon Westin, MD


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Shannon Westin, MD

Shannon Westin, MD

Shannon Westin, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, served as an ASCO expert for the press briefing and made several comments. “What we’re learning is that among tumors with microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) status, 16% may have Lynch syndrome. This is an absolutely practice-changing study, which indicates that patients with MSI-H tumors should be tested for Lynch syndrome regardless of their cancer type,” she said.

“Currently, we are only testing the tip of the iceberg of patients who may be affected by Lynch syndrome,” continued Dr. Westin, referring to patients with colorectal or endometrial cancer, who sometimes have the condition. “What we now know is that under the surface, there are a larger number of patients of other specific cancer types who should also be tested.… This is a straightforward testing strategy that can be immediately implemented and will not only affect patients but also their family members,” she said, explaining that when Lynch syndrome is found, surveillance can be aggressive and risk-reduction strategies employed. “The impact of that cannot be overstated.” ■

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Westin is a consultant for AstraZeneca, Clovis, Tesaro, Merck, Ovation, Medivation, Gerson Lehrman Group, and Roche/Genentech.


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In a study that many consider to be practice-changing, Lynch syndrome, a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome, was found in many persons who would not ordinarily be suspected of having it.1 The study, which was presented at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, has implications for broader testing...

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