Perspectives on Genetic Testing and Return of Results from the First Cohort of Presymptomatically Tested Individuals At Risk of Huntington Disease

K. M. Stuttgen, J. M. Bollinger, R. L. Dvoskin, A. McCague, B. Shpritz, Jason Brandt, Debra J Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This qualitative study gathered opinions about genetic testing from people who received presymptomatic testing for Huntington’s disease (HD) 20–30 years ago and have lived with the implications of that testing for decades. During the last section of a semi-structured interview, participants were asked open-ended questions about their opinions on the importance of autonomy in the decision to be tested for HD, whether a formal HD testing protocol is necessary, whether physician ordering for HD is acceptable without a formal protocol, whether online direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing for HD is acceptable, and whether incidental/secondary findings should be returned in the context of whole exome/genome sequencing. Most—but not all—participants were in favor of an individual’s right to decide whether and when to pursue HD testing, use of a formal HD testing protocol, and returning medically actionable secondary findings. However, the majority of participants were opposed not only to physician ordering and DTC HD testing in the absence of a formal protocol but also to returning a secondary finding of an expanded HD allele. This study presents the opinions of a unique and extremely well-informed cohort on issues that need to be taken into careful consideration by genetic counselors and other medical professionals who are developing genetic testing protocols, making decisions about the availability of genetic tests, and making decisions about whether and how to return incidental findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 2 2018

Keywords

  • Direct-to-consumer testing
  • Genetic testing
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Incidental findings
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

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