Patient communication of cancer genetic test results in a diverse population. Translational behavioral medicine Ricker, C. N., Koff, R. B., Qu, C. n., Culver, J. n., Sturgeon, D. n., Kingham, K. E., Lowstuter, K. n., Chun, N. M., Rowe-Teeter, C. n., Lebensohn, A. n., Levonian, P. n., Partynski, K. n., Lara-Otero, K. n., Hong, C. n., Petrovchich, I. M., Mills, M. A., Hartman, A. R., Allen, B. n., Ladabaum, U. n., McDonnell, K. n., Ford, J. M., Gruber, S. B., Kurian, A. W., Idos, G. E. 2018; 8 (1): 85–94


Research on the communication of genetic test results has focused predominately on non-Hispanic White (NHW) mutation-positive families with high-risk hereditary cancer conditions. Little is known about this process for racially and ethnically diverse individuals or for those with mutations in moderate risk genes. The communication behaviors of study participants who carry a gene mutation were analyzed 3 months after disclosure of genetic test results. Participants were queried about communication of their results, as part of a prospective study of multi-gene panel genetic testing. The responses of particpants who tested positive were analyzed by race/ethnicity and by level of cancer risk (high vs. moderate). Of the 216 mutation-positive study participants, 136 (63%) responded. Self-reported race/ethnicity was 46% NHW, 41% Hispanic, 10% Asian, and 2% Black. The majority (99.0%, n = 135) had shared their results with someone and 96% had told a family member (n = 130). Hispanic respondents were less likely to have told a healthcare provider about their results than NHW (29% vs. 68%, p < .0001). Asian respondents were less likely than NHW to encourage family members to undergo testing (OR = 0.1, p = .03); but Asian family members were more likely to undergo testing (OR = 8.0, p = .03). There were no differences in communication between those with a mutation in a high- or moderate-risk gene. Three months post genetic testing, communication of results was very high; 30% reported a family member underwent genetic testing. Further studies are needed to better understand the communication process in individuals from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds.

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