Study Finds Genetic Testing Underutilized Among Ovarian Cancer Patients
We know that germline genetic testing (testing that looks for inherited genetic mutations that exist in all cells of the body) is a crucial component in the fight against ovarian cancer — not just in determining who is at increased risk for the disease, but in optimizing treatment for patients already diagnosed.
A retrospective study, Nationwide Trends and Determinants of Germline BRCA1/2 Testing in Patients With Breast and Ovarian Cancer, first published in the Official Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (JNCCN), recently examined records for more than 5,500 patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2011 and 2020. In those years, just a little more than a third of those patients underwent germline genetic testing after diagnosis (35.4%), testing that would have helped determine whether those patients would be eligible for PARP inhibitors. While the numbers of those tested increased over time, and especially accelerated after the approval of PARP inhibitors for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutated chemotherapy-refractory ovarian cancer in December 2014, the numbers are still far below where they should be.
Furthermore, germline genetic testing was underutilized at greater numbers for patients who were of older age, Black and/or on Medicare vs. commercial insurance.
OCRA remains committed to raising awareness of the importance of genetic testing and increasing access to this key component in fighting the disease. Learn more about our risk awareness and prevention efforts, as well as the different types of genetic testing and how they are used.