Need for Genetic Testing Becomes More Pronounced in Breast, Gynecologic Cancers as Targeted Approaches Abound

Need for Genetic Testing Becomes More Pronounced in Breast, Gynecologic Cancers as Targeted Approaches Abound

Lan G. Coffman, MD, PhD, discusses the role of genetic testing in breast and gynecologic cancers and the many advances made with targeted therapies.

Dr. Coffman explains, “As we expand our knowledge on the predisposition of breast and gynecologic cancers, we’re learning more about how one’s genes influence risk, as well as our ability to treat these cancers.” “BRCA mutations, for example, are one of the most commonly acknowledged genetic syndromes. BRCA1/2 mutations are genetic predispositions related to DNA damage, which significantly increases a patient’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.”

The BRCA gene is linked to several different types of cancers including: cervical cancer, renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer, renal cell carcinoma, leukemia, and head and neck cancer. There is currently not enough evidence to link BRCA mutations to other types of cancer, but many medical practitioners believe that it may be possible. The BRCA genes can be inherited through genetics from one or both parents. For women who have a history of multiple types of cancer in their family, there is an increased risk that they will develop BRCA, although there is currently no studies that indicate whether or not men will develop the condition as well.

Dr. Coffman comments on the importance of genetic testing in patients with breast and gynecological cancers. “All [patients with] ovarian cancer are recommended to undergo germline testing for BRCA mutations, both to understand potential treatments for themselves, as well as what their family members may be at risk for. Knowing this information allows us to institute appropriate screening. Certainly, guidelines for breast cancer are different in terms of the number of family members affected, age, and the type of breast cancer; however, it’s something we should consider for all women who have breast or ovarian cancers.”

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Read Dr. Coffman’s full interview here:

“Need for Genetic Testing Becomes More Pronounced in Breast, Gynecologic Cancers as Targeted Approaches Abound.” OncLive, www.onclive.com/view/need-for-genetic-testing-becomes-more-pronounced-in-breast-gynecologic-cancers-as-targeted-approaches-abound.