They are nearly evenly split on whether to test minors for BRCA1/2 mutations

-- Monica Smith

Thursday, June 24, 2010 (Last Updated: 06/25/2010)

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic testing of minors for adult hereditary cancer syndromes is not currently recommended, and parents' opinions on testing of minors for BRCA1/2 mutations are divided, according to research published online June 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Angela R. Bradbury, M.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues interviewed 246 parents who underwent BRCA1/2 testing to explore their opinions of the genetic testing of minors and the factors and rationales behind their opinions. There was a 60 percent response rate.

The researchers found that, in response to a dichotomous question regarding the genetic testing of minors in general, 37 percent of the parents were in favor of testing minors, 55 percent did not support testing, and 8 percent were unsure. Responses to why they do or do not support genetic testing of minors suggested that 47 percent were in favor of testing minors in some or all circumstances. Factors independently associated with supporting genetic testing of minors included male sex, minority race, and parent negative BRCA1/2 test result. When asked about their own children undergoing genetic testing, 44 percent expressed hypothetical interest in response to a dichotomous question, and 55 percent said they would consider, hypothetically, testing their own minor offspring in some or all circumstances. Factors associated with supporting testing of one's child included having less than a college education and parent negative BRCA1/2 test result.

"Given the lack of evidence supporting either the permission or restriction of BRCA1/2 testing in minors, further evaluation of the risks and benefits of providing genetic risk information and genetic testing to minors for adult-onset disease is needed to inform clinical practice and guidelines," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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