Genomic Testing Knowledge


Study from one cancer center shows low knowledge and comfort levels.

Researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston surveyed all clinically active oncologists caring for adult patients to assess their use of somatic testing, their attitudes about multiplex testing, and their genomic confidence. System-wide multiplex testing was then instituted.

Of the 160 physicians who participated (response rate, 61%), 57% were medical oncologists; 29% were surgeons; and 14% were radiation oncologists. Although 83% reported being a principal investigator on one or more studies, 22% of the respondents reported low confidence in their genomic knowledge. Eighteen percent of anticipated testing patients infrequently (≤ 10%) and 25% anticipated testing most patients (≥ 90%). Higher genomic confidence was associated with wanting to test a majority of patients and anticipating using actionable or potentially actionable test results to inform treatment recommendations. Forty-two percent of respondents endorsed disclosure of uncertain genomic findings to patients. The researchers concluded that, given that many physicians reported low genomic confidence, evidence-based guidelines and enhanced physician genomic education efforts may be needed to ensure that genomically-guided cancer care is adequately delivered.


Gray SW, Hicks-Courant K, Cronin A, et al. Physicians attitudes about multiplex tumor genomic testing. J Clin Oncol, published online before print 3/24/14, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.52.4298

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