Using the principles of public health genomics, we examined the opportunities and challenges of implementing personalized prevention programmes for cancer at the population level. Our model-based estimates indicate that polygenic risk stratification can potentially improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening programmes. However, compared with 'one-size-fits-all' screening programmes, personalized screening adds further layers of complexity to the organization of screening services and raises ethical, legal and social challenges. Before polygenic inheritance is translated into population screening strategy, evidence from empirical research and engagement with and education of the public and the health professionals are needed.
Keywords: ethical; legal and social issues; personalized prevention; polygenic risk stratification; public health genomics; screening.
© 2013 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.