Genetic Counseling and Testing by Oncologists Feasible for Ovarian Cancer Patients

(April 3, 2018) A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explored the effects of oncologists, rather than genetic counselors, testing ovarian cancer patients for BRCA mutations. Due to the limited number of genetic counselors and the increase in demand for BRCA mutation testing, ovarian cancer patients don’t always have the ability or opportunity to be seen by a counselor. In order to better serve the needs of the ovarian cancer community, researchers implemented ENGAGE, or Evaluating a Streamlined Onco-genetic BRCA Testing and Counseling Model Among Patients With Ovarian Cancer, in the United States, Italy, and Spain. They study analyzed the reactions, via survey, from oncologists and the 700 patients enrolled in the study, to determine satisfaction and the amount of time it took to receive the test results. In the U.S., the median turnaround time for results was 4.1 weeks, in Italy it was 20.4 weeks, and in Spain it was 12 weeks. Patient satisfaction and oncologist satisfaction were both high, 99% and 80% respectively. The oncologist survey also indicated that they felt their time counseling their patients on BRCA mutations was worthwhile, as was the ENGAGE testing guidelines.

The study concluded that oncologist led BRCA mutation testing via these guidelines was well received and could offer a faster, informative addition to patient care.