ASCO updates policy guidance on cancer screenings using gene tests
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology issued an updated policy statement on genetic and genomic testing for cancer susceptibility.
- Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the guidance reviews how technology is transforming identification of inherited cancer risk assessment.
- The organization made recommendations in five key areas including quality assurance in genetic testing, oncology professional education, and multi-gene panel testing for cancer screening.
According to the society, as much as 10% of cancers may be associated with an inherited mutation that can contribute to cancer development. As technology has adapting and improved over the years, some tools have emerged to help identify such genetic mutations.
For example, next generation sequencing (NGS), which permits the cataloging of DNA sequence variations within a patient’s cancer, can identify therapeutic targets and improve patient outcomes when specific therapies are directed at those targets, according to ASCO. “At the same time, NGS can identify germ-line mutations, variations that are inherited and transmitted to offspring, challenging current cancer care practices of counseling and testing for inherited cancer susceptibility,” read a prepared statement by ASCO.
“Current cancer diagnosis and treatment is now tightly linked to our expanded understanding of what is happening at the genetic level of cancer,” said Dr. Mark E. Robson, chair of ASCO’s Ethics Committee and lead author of the ASCO policy statement. “As this field moves forward, we must ensure that providers are well versed in the diagnostic and treatment options available, that patients have access to genetic testing that identifies hereditary risk, and that these tests have appropriate regulatory oversight.”
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