Decision-support Tool for Gene-based Breast Cancer Tests

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced last week that it would lead efforts to develop decision-support tools that will help clinicians and patients better use genetic tests.

In response to recent recommendations from the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced last week that it would lead efforts to “develop, implement and evaluate four computer-based decision-support tools that will help clinicians and patients better use genetic tests to evaluate and treat breast cancer.” The independent, not-for-profit research institute RTI International will complete the $1 million project by creating two pairs of tools.

The first pair includes a BRCA tool designed for patient use and one designed for physician use, both meant to assess whether a woman with a family history of cancer should be tested for BRCA1 and BRAC2 gene mutations. The second pair of tools is meant for women already diagnosed with breast cancer and will help identify those who are appropriate for gene expression profiling (GEP) to determine if they are at high risk for recurrence; one tool is meant only for the healthcare provider, the other to offer active decision support to the patient and the clinician.

“Genetic testing can be a powerful tool for assessing the risk of breast cancer and treating the disease effectively, but clinicians need better support in identifying which patients will benefit from specific tests,” said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, AHRQ director. “This work is part of a broader effort to provide decision support tools that will help physicians and patients in achieving the best possible outcomes and improving patient care.”

Will the project make a difference for you and your patients?

Look for the November issue of Oncology Net Guide for more on decision support software for oncologists!