October 5, 2018 – Cascade Testing


Anchor lead: How can we promote genetic testing among close relatives of those with cancer-related mutations? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cascade testing is a strategy for testing close relatives of someone with a known mutation for cancer, with a new study showing that if the price was lower, more people would come forward to be testing. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says there are many practical aspects to this.

Nelson: If someone comes in who we see who is a carrier of a gene that confers increased risk for a cancer, many of them are strategies for how they’re taken care of even if they don’t have a cancer, more intense screening, earlier screening, there are a whole variety of maneuvers. Yes, they are counseled fairly aggressively related to the risks of cancers in their first degree relatives and they fill out an Ancestry.com sort of whose mother, whose niece, nephew, etcetera, they are asked to recruit first degree relatives for cascade testing, are recommended that they should do so.  :29

Nelson notes that when cascade testing is a part of a clinical trial or other investigation it is often paid for, and predicts the price tag will decline. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.