Genetic Testing for GI Cancers: Preventative and Diagnostic


There can be many benefits for patients with gastrointestinal cancers, as well as their loved ones, to undergo genetic testing.

Undergoing genetic testing for gastrointestinal (GI) cancers can be both preventative and diagnostic, explained Matthew Yurgelun, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

If someone is already diagnosed with cancer, undergoing genetic and/or molecular testing can offer information about other cancers that they may be at risk for developing, as well as treatment options they may respond best to. For example, patients whose tumors test positive for microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) status are more likely to have better responses to certain types of immunotherapy.

Genetic counseling can also play a preventative and proactive role for those without cancer, especially for those who have family members with a diagnosis.

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