Adverse events in cancer genetic testing: the third case series

Cancer J. Jul-Aug 2014;20(4):246-53. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000057.

Abstract

After repeated media attention in 2013 due to the Angelina Jolie disclosure and the Supreme Court decision to ban gene patents, the demand for cancer genetic counseling and testing services has never been greater. Debate has arisen regarding who should provide such services and the quality of genetics services being offered. In this ongoing case series, we document 35 new cases from 7 states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Utah) and the District of Columbia of adverse outcomes in cancer genetic testing when performed without the involvement of a certified genetic counselor. We identified 3 major themes of errors: wrong genetic tests ordered, genetic test results misinterpreted, and inadequate genetic counseling. Patient morbidity and mortality were an issue in several of these cases. The complexity of cancer genetic testing and counseling has grown exponentially with the advent of multigene panels that include rare genes and the potential for more variants of uncertain significance. We conclude that genetic counseling and testing should be offered by certified genetics providers to minimize the risks, maximize the benefits, and utilize health care dollars most efficiently.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / economics
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Testing / economics
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Risk Assessment / economics
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Young Adult