Young Adults with Early-Onset Cancer Are at High Risk of Germline Mutations; Results Argue for Germline Genetic Testing Given High Probability of Identifying Genetic Mutations with Implications for Treatment, Surveillance, & At-Risk Family Members

Young patients ages 18–39 with early-onset cancer were at an especially high risk of harboring inherited genetic (germline) mutations, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting II (, held online June 22-24. Because patients with early-onset cancer harboring germline mutations are at increased risk for second primary cancers and other health complications, they could benefit from germline genetic testing. “Although they only represent about 4 percent of all cancers, young adults with cancer, defined as those diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 18 and 39, face unique challenges,” said Zsofia K. Stadler (photo below), MD (, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). “Identifying whether a young patient’s cancer occurred in the setting of an inherited cancer predisposition syndrome is important as it can result in a substantial change in clinical management, such as increased cancer surveillance aimed at early detection, and risk-reducing surgery to prevent new cancers, and may even have reproductive implications for young families.” Patients with early-onset cancer are a distinct subgroup of young cancer patients, Dr. Stadler explained. “While some cancers are more typically seen in young adults, such as sarcoma, testicular cancer, and brain cancer, cancers typically diagnosed in older adults, including in breast, colon, pancreas, kidney, prostate, and ovaries, are extremely rare in this young age group, and are what we classify as ‘early-onset’ cancers.”
Login Or Register To Read Full Story