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Breast Cancer Patients Do Not Overreact to Genetic Testing

No increased cancer worry for multigene panel testing versus BRCA1/2-only test after cancer diagnosis

THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Among breast cancer patients, more extensive genetic testing is not associated with increased cancer worry, according to a study recently published in JCO Precision Oncology.

Steven J. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined patient-reported cancer worry by test type and results among 1,063 women with breast cancer who were linked to a genetic test and underwent testing.

The researchers found that 60.2 percent of women received BRCA1/2-only testing, while 39.8 percent had a multigene panel. Few patients reported substantial cancer worry after treatment: 11.1 and 15.1 percent reported a higher impact of cancer worry and high frequency of cancer worry in the past month, respectively. There was no difference in the impact of cancer worry by test type, test result outcome, or clinical or treatment factors. For multigene versus BRCA1/2-only testing, the odds ratio for a higher impact of cancer worry was 0.81 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.51 to 1.28). Compared with a negative test, the odds ratios were 1.21 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.54 to 2.68) and 0.9 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.5 to 1.62) for pathogenic variant and variant of uncertain significance, respectively.

“These findings are reassuring,” Katz said in a statement. “We found that patients did not overreact whether they got the newer panel testing or BRCA-only testing, and they did not overreact to the test results.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Myriad Genetics.

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