Cancer Risk C (CR-C), a functional genomics test is a sensitive and rapid test for germline mismatch repair deficiency

Ishraq Alim, Johnny Loke, Sarah Yam, Allyson S. Templeton, Polly Newcomb, Noralane M. Lindor, Rish K. Pai, Mark A. Jenkins, Daniel D. Buchanan, Steven Gallinger, Susan Klugman, Harry Ostrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Heritable pathogenic variants in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway cause Lynch syndrome, a condition that significantly increases risk of colorectal and other cancers. At least half of individuals tested using gene panel sequencing have a variant of uncertain significance or no variant identified leading to no diagnosis. To fill this diagnostic gap, we developed Cancer Risk C (CR-C), a flow variant assay test. Methods: In response to treatment with an alkylating agent, individual assays of the nuclear translocation of MLH1, MSH2, BARD1, PMS2, and BRCA2 proteins and the nuclear phosphorylation of the ATM and ATR proteins distinguished pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) from benign/likely benign variants in MMR genes. Results: A risk classification score based on MLH1, MSH2, and ATR assays was 100% sensitive and 98% specific. Causality of MMR P/LP variants was shown through gene editing and rescue. In individuals with suspected Lynch syndrome but no P/LP, CR-C identified most (73%) as having germline MMR defects. Direct comparison of CR-C on matched blood samples and lymphoblastoid cell lines yielded comparable results (r2 > 0.9). Conclusion: For identifying germline MMR defects, CR-C provides augmentation to traditional panel sequencing through greater accuracy, shorter turnaround time (48 hours), and performance on blood with minimal sample handling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1830
Number of pages10
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Functional genomics
  • Genetic testing
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Variant of uncertain significance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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