Impact of genetic counseling strategy on diagnostic yield and workload for genome-sequencing-based tumor diagnostics.



In strategy-1, PGVs would be detected in 50 patients (number-needed-to counsel; NTC = 18.7). In strategy-2, 86 patients would have been referred for genetic counseling and 43 would have PGVs (NTC = 2). In strategy-3, 94 patients would have been referred for genetic counseling and 32 would have PGVs (NTC = 2.9). Hence, 43 and 62 patients, respectively, were unnecessarily referred based on a somatic variant.


We validated GS for detection of germline variants and simulated 3 strategies using paired tumor-normal GS data of 937 metastatic patients. In strategy-1, genetic counseling before tumor testing allowed direct PGV analysis. In strategy-2 and -3, germline testing and referral for post-test genetic counseling is based on tumor variants using Dutch (strategy-2) or Europen Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Precision Medicine Working Group (strategy-3) guidelines.


Both post-tumor test counseling strategies (2 and 3) had significantly lower NTC, and strategy-2 had the highest PGV yield. Combining pre-tumor test mainstreaming and post-tumor test counseling may maximize the clinically relevant PGV yield and minimize unnecessary referrals.


Genome sequencing (GS) enables comprehensive molecular analysis of tumors and identification of hereditary cancer predisposition. According to guidelines, directly determining pathogenic germline variants (PGVs) requires pretest genetic counseling, which is cost-ineffective. Referral for genetic counseling based on tumor variants alone could miss relevant PGVs and/or result in unnecessary referrals.

More about this publication

Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
  • Volume 26
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 101032
  • Publication date 01-02-2024

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