Health system interventions to integrate genetic testing in routine oncology services: a systematic review

Rosie O'Shea*, Natalie Taylor, Ashley Crook, Chris Jacobs, Yoon Jung Kang, Sarah Lewis, Nicole M. Rankin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Background Integration of genetic testing into routine oncology care could improve access to testing. This systematic review investigated interventions and the tailored implementation strategies aimed at increasing access to genetic counselling and testing and identifying hereditary cancer in oncology. Methods The search strategy results were reported using the PRISMA statement and four electronic databases were searched. Eligible studies included routine genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer or uptake after universal tumour screening for colorectal or endometrial cancer. The titles and abstracts were reviewed and the full text articles screened for eligibility. Data extraction was preformed using a designed template and study appraisal was assessed using an adapted Newcastle Ottawa Scale. Extracted data were mapped to Proctor's et al outcomes and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and qualitatively synthesised. Results Twenty-seven studies, published up to May 2020, met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-five studies ranged from poor (72%), fair to good (28%) quality. Most interventions identified were complex (multiple components) such as; patient or health professional education, interdisciplinary practice and a documentation or system change. Forty-eight percent of studies with complex interventions demonstrated on average a 35% increase in access to genetic counselling and a 15% increase in testing completion. Mapping of study outcomes showed that 70% and 32% of the studies aligned with either the service and client or the implementation level outcome and 96% to the process or inner setting domains of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Conclusion Existing evidence suggests that complex interventions have a potentially positive effect towards genetic counselling and testing completion rates in oncology services. Studies of sound methodological quality that explore a greater breadth of pre and post implementation outcomes and informed by theory are needed. Such research could inform future service delivery models for the integration of genetics into oncology services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0250379
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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