Patients’ expectations of the benefits of large-panel genomic tumor testing

Document Type


Publication Date



Maine Medical Center, Medical Education, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

MeSH Headings

Humans, Female, Motivation, Goals, Surveys and Questionnaires, Sampling Studies, Genomics, Physicians, Neoplasms, Health Behavior, Regression Analysis, Brain, Colon


Background: Large-panel genomic tumor testing (GTT) is a new technology that promises to make cancer treatment more precise, but also has uncertain utility for individual patients. Currently, GTT has been shown to benefit relatively few patients; however, patients may have little understanding and unrealistic expectations of its benefits. The goal of this project is to assess expectations of the benefits of GTT among cancer patients in community oncology practices.

Methods: A survey assessing expectations of the benefits of GTT was administered to cancer patients participating in a statewide study of GTT implementation, prior to receipt of testing. Descriptive and regression analyses were conducted to assess expectations and the factors associated with these expectations.

Results: The study sample (N = 900) consisted of patients with a range of cancer types (most frequent were: 15.6% lung, 10.7% breast, 8.9% brain, 7.8% colon) and cancer stages (4.5% Stage I, 5.6% Stage II, 17.3% Stage III, 66.4% Stage IV). The mean age was 63.6 years (SD = 11), and 426 (58.4%) were female. Generally, patients had high expectations of benefiting from GTT; 80.2% thought GTT was moderately likely to help their doctor choose the best treatment for them, and 62.5% thought GTT was moderately likely to give them greater peace of mind. Greater expectations for GTT (? = .12, p < .002) were positively associated with age and negatively associated with knowledge of GTT (? = -.16, p < .0001). Conclusions: Patients have relatively high expectations of the benefits of GTT, which are associated with age and knowledge of GTT. More research is needed to understand the causes of patient expectations of GTT, and their effects of health behaviors and outcomes.


2020 Costas T. Lambrew Research Retreat, abstract only.

Full text is not available here. Please contact your library for more information.