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Uptake of testing for germline BRCA mutations in patients with non-mucinous epithelial ovarian cancers in Western Australia: a comparison of different genetic counseling methods


Introduction Patients with non-mucinous epithelial tubo-ovarian cancers should be referred for genetic testing because approximately 15% will carry an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer susceptibility genes. However, referral rates for genetic testing remain low. For patients who carry a BRCA mutation, failure to refer for genetic testing results in missed opportunities for therapy and prevention of future cancers in the patient and at-risk relatives. In Western Australia between July 2013 and June 2015, 40.6% of patients with non-mucinous epithelial tubo-ovarian cancers discussed at a statewide gynecologic oncology tumor board were referred for genetic testing. Our objective was to investigate the proportion of patients with non-mucinous epithelial tubo-ovarian cancers in Western Australia referred for BRCA1/2 testing from July 2015 to December 2017, following the introduction of mainstreaming and tele-counseling. A secondary aim was to compare the uptake of genetic testing between different genetic counseling modalities.

Methods Retrospective case series. All patients with high-grade non-mucinous epithelial tubo-ovarian cancers discussed at the weekly Western Australian gynecologic oncology tumor board meeting, between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017, and those referred for BRCA mutation testing, were ascertained.

Results A total of 343 women were eligible for referral; 63 patients were excluded, leaving 280 patients for analysis. 220/280 patients were referred for genetic testing (78.6%). There were no differences in uptake of genetic testing by mode of genetic counseling.

Discussion A significant increase in referrals of eligible patients for genetic testing was observed in 2015–2017 compared with 2013–2014. Although there were no differences in uptake of genetic testing by mode of counseling, mainstreaming and tele-counseling provide alternative options for patients that may lead to higher uptake of genetic testing.

  • cystadenocarcinoma, serous
  • fallopian tube neoplasms
  • ovarian cancer
  • BRCA mutation testing

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