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J Oncol Pract. 2011 May;7(3):183-7. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2010.000190.

Physicians' current practices and opportunities for DNA banking of dying patients with cancer.

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1
Department of Human & Molecular Genetics, Department of Social & Behavioral Health, and Department of Medicine, Massey Cancer Center, Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The availability of genetic tests for cancer susceptibility is increasing. Current tests, however, have limited clinical sensitivity. Even when clinically valid tests are available, the genetic counseling and informed consent process might not be feasible for dying patients with cancer. DNA banking preserves the opportunity for future research or clinical testing and may provide critical opportunities for surviving relatives. This study explored the current practices and potential for DNA banking for cancer susceptibility among oncologists specializing in palliative care.

METHODS:

Palliative care oncologists actively providing clinical care for dying patients with cancer were recruited for an online survey. Descriptive statistics for DNA banking practices, perceived qualification to recommend banking, and potential predictors were assessed.

RESULTS:

Data were collected from 49 physicians (37% recruitment rate). Eighty percent reported assessing at least some patients for genetic cancer susceptibility in the past 12 months. No participants reported banking DNA for patients in the past 12 months. Only 5% reported feeling at least somewhat qualified to order DNA banking. A Web-based risk assessment tool and genetic counselor on staff were perceived as the most helpful potential resources.

CONCLUSION:

Despite its potential, DNA banking is not being used by palliative care oncologists.

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