Germline Genetic Testing in Advanced Prostate Cancer; Practices and Barriers: Survey Results from the Germline Genetics Working Group of the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium

PCCTC Germline Genetics Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Germline genetic testing increasingly identifies advanced prostate cancer (PCa) patients who are candidates for precision therapies. The Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) established the Germline Genetics Working Group to provide guidance and resources to expand effective use of germline genetic testing. Materials and Methods: A 14-item questionnaire was e-mailed to academic oncologists at 43 PCCTC sites to collect information on germline genetic testing patterns, including patients considered, choice of assays, barriers slowing adoption, and actions to overcome barriers. Results: Twenty-six genitourinary oncologists from 19 institutions responded. Less than 40% (10 of 26) reported referring patients to a genetics department, whereas the remainder take personal responsibility for genetic testing and counseling; 16 (62%) consider testing all metastatic PCa patients, whereas 3 (12%) consider testing all patients with high-risk local disease; and 7 (27%) use multigene comprehensive pan-cancer panels, and 14 (54%) use smaller or targeted cancer gene panels. Barriers to widespread use are: (1) delayed or limited access to genetic counseling; (2) no insurance coverage; (3) lack of effective workflows; (4) insufficient educational materials; and (5) time and space constraints in busy clinics. The primary limitation was the <50% (19 of 43) response from PCCTC sites and no coverage of nonacademic cancer treatment facilities. Conclusion: Joint efforts by urologists, oncologists, genetics counselors, insurers, and cancer centers can accelerate implementation of integrated germline genetic services for personalized treatment and clinical trial eligibility for PCa patients. More than 10% of patients with advanced prostate cancer carry inherited genetic mutations that might amplify their response to targeted therapies, but barriers, including a shortage of genetic counselors, limit patient access to testing that would enable targeted therapy. This study of practices in nineteen US comprehensive cancer centers showed that a shortage of genetic counselors and 4 other barriers limit adoption of this important advance. Herein we also catalogue germline genetic testing practices and illuminate initiatives that might expand testing availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • BRCA
  • DNA repair
  • Lynch
  • PARP inhibitors
  • Pembrolizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology

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