Next-generation sequencing technologies have ushered in the capability to assess multiple genes in parallel for genetic alterations that may contribute to inherited risk for cancers in families. Thus, gene panel testing is now an option in the setting of genetic counseling and testing for cancer risk. This article describes the many gene panel testing options clinically available to assess inherited cancer susceptibility, the potential advantages and challenges associated with various types of panels, clinical scenarios in which gene panels may be particularly useful in cancer risk assessment, and testing and counseling considerations. Given the potential issues for patients and their families, gene panel testing for inherited cancer risk is recommended to be offered in conjunction or consultation with an experienced cancer genetic specialist, such as a certified genetic counselor or geneticist, as an integral part of the testing process.
Copyright © 2014 by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.