Recommendations for the implementation of genetic testing for metastatic prostate cancer patients in Canada
Keywords:germline testing, somatic testing, tumour testing, next-generation sequencing, metastatic prostate cancer, homologous recombination repair, mainstreaming, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, advanced prostate cancer, NGS
Introduction: Genetic testing in advanced prostate cancer is rapidly moving to become standard of care. Testing for genetic alterations in genes involved in DNA repair pathways, particularly those implicated in the homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway, in patients with metastatic prostate cancer (mPCa) can inform selection of optimal therapies, as well as provide information about familial cancer risks. However, there are currently no consistent Canadian guidelines in place for genetic testing in mPCa.
Methods: A multidisciplinary steering committee guided the process of an environmental scan to define the current landscape, as well as the perceived challenges, through interviews with specialists from 14 sites across Canada. The challenges most commonly identified include limited testing guidelines and protocols, inadequate education and awareness, and insufficient resources. Following the environmental scan, an expert multidisciplinary working group with pan-Canadian representation from medical oncologists, urologists, medical geneticists, genetic counsellors, pathologists, and clinical laboratory scientists convened in virtual meetings to discuss the challenges in implementation of genetic testing in mPCa across Canada.
Results: Key recommendations from the working group include implementation of germline and tumor HRR testing for all metastatic patients, with a mainstreaming model in which non-geneticist clinicians can initiate germline testing. The working group defined the roles and responsibilities of the various health care providers (HCPs) involved in the genetic testing pathway for mPCa patients. In addition, the educational needs for all HCPs involved in the genetic testing pathway for mPCa were defined.
Conclusions: As genetic testing for mPCa becomes standard of care, additional resources and investments will be required to implement the changes that will be needed to support the necessary volume of genetic testing, to ensure equitable access, and to provide education to all stakeholders.
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