Lost in translation

returning germline genetic results in genome-scale cancer research

Amber L. Johns, Skye H. McKay, Jeremy L. Humphris, Mark Pinese, Lorraine A. Chantrill, R. Scott Mead, Katherine Tucker, Lesley Andrews, Annabel Goodwin, Conrad Leonard, Hilda A. High, Katia Nones, Ann Marie Patch, Neil D. Merrett, Nick Pavlakis, Karin S. Kassahn, Jaswinder S. Samra, David K. Miller, David K. Chang, Marina Pajic & 7 others Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative, John V. Pearson, Sean M. Grimmond, Nicola Waddell, Nikolajs Zeps, Anthony J. Gill, Andrew V. Biankin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The return of research results (RoR) remains a complex and well-debated issue. Despite the debate, actual data related to the experience of giving individual results back, and the impact these results may have on clinical care and health outcomes, is sorely lacking. Through the work of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) we: (1) delineate the pathway back to the patient where actionable research data were identified; and (2) report the clinical utilisation of individual results returned. Using this experience, we discuss barriers and opportunities associated with a comprehensive process of RoR in large-scale genomic research that may be useful for others developing their own policies. Methods: We performed whole-genome (n = 184) and exome (n = 208) sequencing of matched tumour-normal DNA pairs from 392 patients with sporadic pancreatic cancer (PC) as part of the APGI. We identified pathogenic germline mutations in candidate genes (n = 130) with established predisposition to PC or medium-high penetrance genes with well-defined cancer associated syndromes or phenotypes. Variants from candidate genes were annotated and classified according to international guidelines. Variants were considered actionable if clinical utility was established, with regard to prevention, diagnosis, prognostication and/or therapy. Results: A total of 48,904 germline variants were identified, with 2356 unique variants undergoing annotation and in silico classification. Twenty cases were deemed actionable and were returned via previously described RoR framework, representing an actionable finding rate of 5.1%. Overall, 1.78% of our cohort experienced clinical benefit from RoR. Conclusion: Returning research results within the context of large-scale genomics research is a labour-intensive, highly variable, complex operation. Results that warrant action are not infrequent, but the prevalence of those who experience a clinical difference as a result of returning individual results is currently low.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGenome Medicine
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. 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.

Keywords

  • Genomic data
  • Research ethics
  • Return of results
  • Whole-genome sequencing

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