Surgical Pathology Clinics

Testing for Hereditary Predisposition in Patients with Gynecologic Cancers, Quo Vadis?

  • Gillian Mitchell
    Corresponding author. Hereditary Cancer Program, BC Cancer Agency, 750 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1H5, Canada.
    Hereditary Cancer Program, BC Cancer Agency, 600 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4E6, Canada

    Department of Medical Oncology, University of British Columbia, 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
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  • Kasmintan A. Schrader
    Hereditary Cancer Program, Department of Molecular Oncology, BC Cancer Agency, 600 Wet 10th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4E6, Canada

    Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
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Published:April 11, 2016DOI:


      Genetic testing for a hereditary predisposition to gynecologic cancers has been available clinically since the 1990s. Since then, knowledge of the hereditary contribution to gynecologic cancers has dramatically increased, especially with respect to ovarian cancer. Although knowledge of the number of gynecologic cancer–predisposing genes has increased, the integration of genetic predisposition testing into routine clinical practice has been much slower. This article summarizes the technical and practical aspects of genetic testing in gynecologic cancers, the potential barriers to more widespread access and practice of genetic testing for hereditary predisposition to gynecologic cancers, and the potential solutions to these barriers.


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