Understanding perceptions of tumor genomic profile testing in Black/African American cancer patients in a qualitative study: the role of medical mistrust, provider communication, and family support

Caseem C. Luck, Sarah Bauerle Bass, Yana Chertock, Patrick J.A. Kelly, Katie Singley, Ariel Hoadley, Michael J. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tumor genomic profiling (TGP) examines genes and somatic mutations specific to a patient’s tumor to identify targets for cancer treatments but can also uncover secondary hereditary (germline) mutations. Most patients are unprepared to make complex decisions related to this information. Black/African American (AA) cancer patients are especially at risk because of lower health literacy, higher levels of medical mistrust, and lower awareness and knowledge of genetic testing. But little is known about their TGP attitudes or preferences. Five in-person focus groups were conducted with Black/AA cancer patients (N = 33) from an NCI-designated cancer center and an affiliated oncology unit in an urban safety-net hospital located in Philadelphia. Focus groups explored participants’ understanding of TGP, cultural beliefs about genetics, medical mistrust, and how these perceptions informed decision-making. Participants were mostly female (81.8%), and one-third had some college education; mean age was 57 with a SD of 11.35. Of patients, 33.3% reported never having heard of TGP, and 48.5% were not aware of having had TGP as part of their cancer treatment. Qualitative analysis was guided by the principles of applied thematic analysis and yielded five themes: (1) mistrust of medical institutions spurring independent health-information seeking; (2) genetic testing results as both empowering and overwhelming; (3) how provider-patient communication can obviate medical mistrust; (4) how unsupportive patient-family communication undermines interest in secondary-hereditary risk communication; and (5) importance of developing centralized patient support systems outside of treatment decisions. Results improve understanding of how Black/AA patients perceive of TGP and how interventions can be developed to assist with making informed decisions about secondary hereditary results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Early online dateJan 16 2024
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jan 16 2024

Keywords

  • Black/African American cancer patients
  • Genetics
  • Qualitative research
  • Tumor genomic profiling (TGP)

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