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ICARE Newsletter Summer 2012

Emerging Cancer Panels for Testing Patients for Inherited Cancer Predisposition

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Genetic testing for inherited cancer predisposition is typically performed by testing for one condition at a time. However, with the tremendous advances in genetic testing technologies over the last few years, the cost of testing has plummeted. To put this into perspective, the first human genome cost 2-3 billion dollars to sequence and took over 10 years to complete. Based on newer technologies, the current cost  of sequencing a human genome is less than $10,000 and takes 4-6 weeks to complete. As such, it has become realistic to test for multiple inherited cancer conditions at the same time through “cancer panels”. These panels consist of several genes for conditions at a cost that is comparable to genetic testing for one condition. Insurance reimbursement for testing has been encouraging. An example of when to consider this test is for an individual with breast cancer in whom there is a strong family history of cancer, but the BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing (comprehensive BRACAnalysis® and comprehensive rearrangement testing (BART)) did not identify a mutation to be present. For more information about this testing, contact your local genetics professional.

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