A universal genetic testing initiative for patients with high-grade, non-mucinous epithelial ovarian cancer and the implications for cancer treatment

Gynecol Oncol. 2017 Aug;146(2):399-404. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.05.037. Epub 2017 Jun 10.


Objective: Genetic counseling (GC) and germline genetic testing (GT) for BRCA1 and BRCA2 are considered standard of care for patients with high-grade, non-mucinous epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers (HGOC). We describe a universal genetic testing initiative to increase the rates of recommendation and acceptance of GC and GT to >80% for patients with HGOC at our institution.

Methods: Data from a consecutive cohort of patients seen in our gynecologic oncology clinics between 9/1/2012 and 8/31/2015 for evaluation of HGOC were retrospectively analyzed. Data were abstracted from the tumor registry, medical records, and research databases. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate patient characteristics and GC, GT, and PARP inhibitor use. Various clinic interventions were developed, influenced by the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle method, which included physician-coordinated GT, integrated GC, and assisted GC referrals.

Results: A cohort of 1636 patients presented to the gynecologic oncology clinics for evaluation of HGOC during our study period, and 1423 (87.0%) were recommended to have GC and GT. Of these, 1214 (85.3%) completed GT and 217 (17.9%) were found to have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Among BRCA-positive patients, 167 had recurrent or progressive disease, and 56 of those received PARP inhibitor therapy.

Conclusions: The rates of GC and GT recommendation and completion among patients with HGOC at our institution exceeded 80% following the implementation of a universal genetic testing initiative. Universal genetic testing of patients with HGOC is one strategy to identify those who may benefit from PARP inhibitor therapy.

Keywords: BRCA1; BRCA2; Genetic counseling; Genetic testing; Ovarian cancer; PARP inhibitors.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genes, BRCA2*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Quality Improvement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors