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Trial Tracks Qualitative Experiences for Cancer-Free Individuals Carrying Moderate Risk Gene Mutations

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, a University of California, San Francisco team presents findings from a WISDOM trial Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications analysis looking at experiences of nearly two dozen individuals who found out that they were ATM or CHEK2 carriers in a population breast cancer screening program. Based on interviews done twice after the participants' results were reported to them, the team saw some between-individual differences in the ways that participants applied the moderate risk gene results to their risk reduction strategies. Even so, the authors say, the ATM or CHEK2 carriers tended to be "surprised but not alarmed by the results in the absence of family history" and "minimized the significance of their results in comparison to BRCA." "Participants viewed the results as having limited utility and responded accordingly," the authors add, noting that the individuals tended to share the results with members of their family, but did not typically push for cascade testing in those relatives.