Karen H. Lu, MD, on Genetic Testing From Patients’ Living Rooms

July 6, 2020
Karen H. Lu, MD

At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Scientific Program, Karen H. Lu, MD, presented on findings from the MAGENTA trial, designed to test whether pre and/or post-test genetic counseling is needed to optimally deliver online accessible genetic testing.

At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Scientific Program, Karen H. Lu, MD, presented on findings from the MAGENTA trial, designed to test whether pre and/or post-test genetic counseling is needed to optimally deliver online accessible genetic testing – potentially also bringing genetic testing to patients’ living rooms.

Moreover, electronic genetic testing could offer increased access to genetic counselors when needed.

Lu, from the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, spoke to CancerNetwork about noteworthy findings from the study and what this means for patients.

Transcription:

We, for many years, have really valued the input that a genetic counselor provides for pretest counseling and post-test counseling. I think what this study shows is that we have to balance the facts, balance the benefits of that in-person counseling with making the genetic testing much more available. So, for example, we had women in all 50 states participate in this study. None of the women had to travel to a physician's office to get it performed. We called the study “genetic testing from your living room” because you could do everything at home.

So I think what this study shows is that for one thing, the majority of women do not test positive. And for those women, the electronic educational process was sufficient. So, what we're doing is we're really saying that we have limited resources in terms of genetic counselors, and we're trying to tailor that to people who test positive, and then, at any time in the study, women could access a genetic counselor if they had a question. So, we're really increasing the accessibility of the test, while saving the precious resources of genetic counselors to the times that it's really needed.