Expertise van klinisch geneticus beter benutten

Behandelaar kan voor meeste kankerpatiënten DNA-test aanvragen
Cora M. Aalfs, Anneke M. Westermann en Carla G. van El

Making better use of the clinical geneticist’s expertise; treating physician could request a DNA test for most cancer patients

Eight university medical centres in the Netherlands have established clinical genetic services. Patients receive intensive, and therefore costly, genetic counselling before genetic testing takes place. In recent years the number of patients referred to clinical genetic services has risen dramatically, creating waiting-list backlogs. Knowing your carrier status in hereditary cancers, for instance for a BRCA1/2 mutation, can have consequences for surveillance, treatment, and prevention; however, 90% of patients with breast cancer do not have a mutation. We, therefore, argue that the pathway to genetic testing should be reconstructed in order to safeguard timely and adequate genetic testing for an increasing number of patients. The treating physician should be able to request a DNA test in carefully-selected patient-populations, and only refer patients for genetic counselling after a positive finding. Prerequisites for this ‘mainstream pathway’ are adequate training for medical specialists, good communication with genetics’ departments, and guaranteed referral in uncertain or complex cases.