Oncologists' Perceptions of Tumor Genomic Profiling and the Communication of Test Results and Risks

Michael J. Hall, Paul D'Avanzo, Yana Chertock, Jesse Brajuha, Sarah B. Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Tumor genomic profiling (TGP) identifies genetic targets for precision cancer treatments. The complexity of TGP can expose gaps in oncologists' skills, complicating test interpretation and patient communication. Research on oncologists' use and perceptions of TGP could inform practice patterns and training needs. To study this, a sample of oncologists was surveyed to assess TGP use, perceptions, and perceived skills in TGP interpretation/communication, especially in communication of hereditary risks. Genomic self-efficacy and TGP knowledge were also assessed. The goal sample (n = 50) was accrued from 12/2019 to 1/2020. Respondents were primarily medical oncologists (78%) with >10 (mean 17.7) years of practice experience. TGP use was moderate/high (median 50 [range 2-398]) tests/year. Most oncologists reported informal/no training in interpretation (72%) or communication (86%) of TGP results and risks. Genomic self-efficacy was high and was associated with higher use of TGP (p = 0.047). Perceptions of the benefits and limitations of TGP were mixed: heterogeneity was seen by years of experience, TGP use, and knowledge. Most participants agreed that additional training in TGP communication was needed, especially in communication of hereditary risks, and that an online training tool would be useful (86%). We conclude that oncologists are frequently using TGP despite having mixed views about its utility and not feeling prepared to communicate risks to patients. Oncologists receive little education in interpreting TGP or communicating its results and risks, and would value training in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health Genomics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Nov 29 2021


  • Communication
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Oncologists
  • Physician-Patient Relations


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