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Viewpoint
October 2018

Ethical Implications of Direct-to-Consumer Hereditary Cancer Tests

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Basser Center for BRCA, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(10):1327-1328. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2439

Once limited to the clinical and research settings, direct-to-consumer (DTC) hereditary genetic tests are now available on the open market. Given the medical significance of these tests, there is a pressing need to address the unique ethical questions that arise when cancer susceptibility testing moves from the clinic to the DTC market. In this Viewpoint, we outline the current state of DTC genetic testing for hereditary cancer susceptibility, discuss ethical questions related to informed consent and the disclosure of consumers’ test results, outline research needs, and recommend steps that DTC companies can take to promote informed consent and demonstrate the safe return of results.

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