Developing the infrastructure, processes and capabilities required for routine genetic testing of cancer patients is an essential component of the Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics (MCG) programme.
Doctors at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research have developed a new model of genetic testing, which allows trained oncologists to carry out tests in patients diagnosed with cancer. This new model will allow more patients to benefit from genetic testing.
Over 50 ovarian cancer patients have now received BRCA tests through the gynae unit of The Royal Marsden, which began trialling the new ‘mainstream’ model in July.
The new model brings the genetic test directly to the patient, as a routine component of their oncological care. Previously genetic testing was undertaken following a referral to genetics, and eligibility criteria were more prohibitive.
Now women diagnosed with serous or endometriod ovarian cancer before the age of 65, or those diagnosed with ovarian cancer and breast cancer at any age, will now be offered testing as standard through the gynae unit. Women meeting other eligibility criteria (e.g. ovarian cancer and another primary cancer) will continue to be tested through the genetics department.
45 results have so far been reported. 7 patients were found to have a BRCA mutation relevant to their cancer. The remaining 38 were not found to have a relevant BRCA mutation.
The genetic test results can aid the oncology team in making decisions about the best clinical management for the patient based on whether or not a BRCA mutation is detected. They also identify those who are at risk of developing second cancers and provide an opportunity for risk-reducing interventions.
Making the transition to direct BRCA testing through oncology units of The Royal Marsden is a major step in the programme’s ongoing Implementation workstream.