Navigation Links
Direct-to-consumer advertising for genetic tests concerns physicians and may mislead patients
Date:11/29/2007

Direct-to-consumer advertising for commercial genetic testing is on the rise and may be problematic, according to a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician. In the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Erin Tracy, MD, MPH, warns that such testing is poorly regulated and may present potential pitfalls for patients and physicians.

Some of the tests that are being offered have no proven clinical validity whatsoever and are quite costly, says Tracy. So patients spend money trying to identify a particular gene to figure out if their child is prone to addictive behavior, for example. If the test comes back positive, parents are often not adequately counseled as to what those results might mean, whether these tests have any proven value, or what resources are available for follow up."

The majority of DNA tests are home brews that are unregulated by the FDA, Tracy explains. While the FDA needs more funding to regulate genetic testing, it also is limited in its ability to regulate services based in other countries. According to a 2002 study in Genetics in Medicine, 24 of 105 web sites offering genetic testing directed potential clients to international mailing addresses. Many sites listed professional societies or accrediting organizations on their pages, implying sponsorship or approval of their activities that may not be accurate.

Like other direct-to-consumer ads, these materials do not need to be reviewed by the FDA before they are published. Many involve emotional appeals such as placing an ad for a cancer-associated gene test in the program of a play about a woman dying from ovarian cancer instead of clear discussion of the rationale for screening. Results of genetic tests have the potential to cause excessive alarm or to falsely assure consumers that they will not develop cancer or disease. Direct-to-consumer advertising for genetic tests may also give the erroneous impression that a certain test is mandatory.

Some patients with no risk factors for breast cancer come in and request the test for BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations, says Tracy, referring to a recent advertising campaign. The ads are compelling and theyre emotionally driven. I end up spending time discussing why a particular test being advertised is not appropriate when I should be addressing important issues such as eating a healthy diet or smoking cessation. At the same time, she notes, without proper counseling a patient who does not have the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 mutations might assume she has no risk for breast cancer and forgo recommended mammograms and clinical breast examinations.

In order to make an informed decision about genetic tests, patients should consult with their physicians about their particular risk for cancer or other diseases, Tracy says. Before any test is ordered, there should be a thought process about whether that particular test is appropriate and what well do with it. And physicians need to stay current about whats out there so we can best advise our patients.


'/>"/>

Contact: Valerie Wencis
vwencis@partners.org
617-726-0274
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Does the desire to consume alcohol and tobacco come from our genetic makeup?
2. Diverse genetic abnormalities lead to NF-κB activation in multiple myeloma
3. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
4. Genetics determine optimal drug dose of common anticoagulant
5. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
6. American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
7. UNC study questions FDA genetic-screening guidelines for cancer drug
8. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
9. Selexis Announces Advanced Approach to Maximize Power of Genetic Elements for Rapid Development of High Performance Cell Lines
10. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
11. Rutgers Genetics receives $7.8 million for autism research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , Apr. 11, 2017 Research and ... Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a ... report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on ... covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... YORK , April 5, 2017 Today ... is announcing that the server component of the HYPR ... known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million ... makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... ... Diversity focused business accelerator, The Refinery , announced today they are hosting ... technology-driven, women-led startups in Boston, MA, New Haven/Hamden, CT, and Newark, NJ. Fueling ... that week – in Boston, it will be part of the City of Boston's ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... examining the effects of exoskeleton-assisted walking on gait parameters and neuromuscular activity ... "Neuromechanical adaptations during a robotic powered exoskeleton assisted walking session" (doi:10.1080.10790268.2017.1314900) was ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... Aurora, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... September 20, 2017 ... ... automation, systems integration, and building management solutions, announced today the opening of an ... customers in Taiwan and the Greater China region, while developing new relationships in ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... group of funded early-stage tech companies. “Grit” author Angela Duckworth and her team ... the ic@3401 community is Cooley, an international law firm with decades of experience ...
Breaking Biology Technology: