Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

DNA Testing For Cancer Susceptibility Genes

There are a growing number of genes being discovered that predispose a person to developing cancer for which testing is available. Due to the complexity of the testing and the issues surrounding testing, in 1996 the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published guidelines on when to offer cancer predisposition testing to patients.

ASCO recommended that cancer predisposition testing be offered only when:

ASCO grouped hereditary cancers/cancer genetic testing into three categories:

ASCO concluded that testing should only be offered to persons in the first two groups described above, in conjunction with the proper education and counseling about cancer genetic risk factors.

Of note, ASCO also stated that cancer genetic testing should not be offered to a person without a family history of cancer if the significance of the detection of a susceptibility gene in that person is not clear and for which the medical benefit is not apparent.

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