Medline: 8151327

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 12(4): 843-850, 1994. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 12(4): 843-850, 1994. may be available online for subscribers.

Attitudes about genetic testing for breast-ovarian cancer susceptibility.

Lerman C, Daly M, Masny A, et al.


In anticipation of the availability of genetic testing for a breast-ovarian cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA1), this study examined interest in and expectations about the impact of a potential genetic test.

Patients and Methods:
The subjects were 121 first-degree relatives (FDRs) of ovarian cancer patients. The design was cross-sectional. Subjects completed a structured telephone interview of attitudes about cancer and genetic testing, and self-report psychologic questionnaires to assess coping style and mood disturbance.

Overall, 75% of FDRs said that they would definitely want to be tested for BRCA1 and 20% said they probably would. In bivariate analyses, interest was associated positively with education, perceived likelihood of being a gene carrier, perceived risk of ovarian cancer, ovarian cancer worries, and mood disturbance. In logistic regression analysis, perceived likelihood of being a gene carrier was associated strongly with interest (odds ratio, 3.7; P = .006). Results of stepwise linear regression modeling indicated that an anticipated negative impact of genetic testing was associated with being younger (beta = -.66, P = .009), having more mood disturbance (beta = .015, P = .01), and having an information-seeking coping style (beta = .19, P = .002).

These results suggest that the demand for genetic testing for BRCA1 among FDRs of cancer patients may be great. Moreover, those who elect to participate may represent a more psychologically vulnerable subgroup of high-risk women.

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Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms- Universität Bonn
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Dr. G. Quade