updated 11/30/2010 8:16:51 AM ET 2010-11-30T13:16:51

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 29, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq:MYGN) today said results from a major health economics study in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), found that screening for inherited gene mutations in the genes that cause a major colorectal cancer syndrome called Lynch Syndrome, is both medically and cost effective. The study showed that genetic screening for Lynch syndrome, which can be accomplished with Myriad's COLARIS® test, is as cost-effective as other widely accepted cancer screening procedures in the general population such as colorectal cancer screening (colonoscopy), cervical cancer screening (Pap smear), and breast cancer screening (mammography).  The study, entitled: "Health Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Primary Genetic Screening for Lynch Syndrome in the General Population," is currently available online to subscribers at http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2010/11/18/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0262.abstract .

Previous medical professional society guidelines for Lynch syndrome testing have focused primarily on testing patients after they have had cancer. The present study was designed to determine if it would be more medically and cost effective to identify patients carrying mutations before they have cancer.

"Genetic testing was always assumed to be cost effective for those at very high risk based on their family history, but this shows it would be cost effective in a wider population, similar to the cost effectiveness of mammography," said Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a lead researcher on the study.

Dr. Gruber and his colleagues used a mathematical model to determine the medical and cost effectiveness of colorectal cancer genetic screening based on a simple family history. The study determined that the average cost effectiveness ratio, a measure of expenditure per life year gained by genetic testing, would be $26,000, significantly less expensive than the often-quoted benchmark of $50,000. The study further suggested that risk-assessment should begin between the ages of 25 and 35, and that genetic testing would be appropriate for those individuals whose mutation risk is 5% or greater. The study estimated that approximately 1% of the U.S. population over the age of 25, or 2.0 million Americans, would meet this criteria resulting in a potential market of more than $6 billion dollars for Myriad's COLARIS test. 

AACR President-elect Judy Garber, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, hosted a conference call discussing the results of the study. The call is currently available online at http://www.aacr.org/home/public--media/aacr-press-releases.aspx?d=2207 .

"This will affect a wide population by changing our thinking about risk for colon cancer," said Dr. Garber.  "It is a huge step forward in terms of bringing the benefits of cancer genetics to the broader population using tests that have, in the past, been considered too expensive."

The study was a collaboration between physicians that are world leaders in colon cancer genetics, including Dr. Gruber; Dr. Randall W. Burt, Professor of Medicine and Director of prevention and outreach at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah; Dr. C. Richard Boland, Chief of Gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas;  Dr. Sapna Syngal, Director, Gastroenterology, Co-Director, Cancer Genetics & Prevention Disease Center, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Hans F. A. Vasen, Medical Director of the Netherlands Foundation for the detection of hereditary tumors, Department of Gastroenterology, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands.

About Lynch Syndrome

Lynch Syndrome is an inherited condition that has a high risk of colorectal cancer, as well as endometrial cancer. Increased risk for these cancers is due to mutations in genes that are involved in DNA mismatch repair. Individuals who carry these mismatch repair mutations have about an 82% lifetime risk for developing colon cancer and up to a 71% life time risk for developing endometrial cancer. Individuals with Lynch Syndrome develop cancer at an earlier age with the mean age of colorectal cancer diagnosis being 58 years, as compared to 64 years of age in people without the syndrome. The average age of diagnosis of endometrial cancer caused by Lynch Syndrome is 46 years. Lynch Syndrome is responsible for up to 5% of all colorectal cancer cases.

About COLARIS®

COLARIS is Myriad Genetics' predictive medicine product for hereditary colorectal cancer and uterine cancer.  COLARIS is a comprehensive analysis of the MLH1, MSH2, and MSH6 genes for assessing a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer or uterine cancer.  The test is currently priced at $3,150 and is covered by all major health insurance providers in the United States.

About Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a leading molecular diagnostic company focused on developing and marketing novel predictive medicine, personalized medicine and prognostic medicine products. Myriad's news and other information are available on the Company's Web site at www.myriad.com .

Myriad, the Myriad logo, BRACAnalysis, Colaris, Colaris AP, Melaris, TheraGuide, Prezeon, OnDose, and Prolaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the United States and foreign countries. MYGN-G

The Myriad Genetics, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6336

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to the broad application of genetic testing for hereditary colon cancer; the cost effectiveness of genetic testing for hereditary colon cancer; the suggested ages and profiles for risk-assessment and genetic testing; the cost effectiveness of Colaris for 2.0 million asymptomatic patients; and the potential market of more than $6 billion dollars for Myriad's Colaris test based on individuals meeting study criteria. These "forward-looking statements" are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the risk that sales and profit margins of our existing molecular diagnostic products may decline or will not continue to increase at historical rates; the risk that we may be unable to develop or achieve commercial success for additional molecular diagnostic products in a timely manner, or at all; the risk that licenses to the technology underlying our molecular diagnostic products and any future products are terminated or cannot be maintained on satisfactory terms; risks related to delays or other problems with manufacturing our products or operating our laboratory testing facilities; risks related to public concern over our products; risks related to regulatory requirements or enforcement in the United States and foreign countries and changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems; uncertainties about our ability to obtain new corporate collaborations and acquire new technologies on satisfactory terms, if at all; the development of competing products and services; the risk that we or our licensors may be unable to protect the proprietary technologies underlying our products; the risk of patent-infringement claims or challenges of our patents; risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the United States and internationally; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in Item 1A in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2010, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Myriad undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

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