Family History Better than Navigenics/DTCG Shill for Cancer Genes?


You heard it here. A recent study abstract and pressed about from my friend Charis Eng MD PhD, Clinical Geneticist, Internist and all around really smart lady spoke today about her findings of a head to head, DTCG vs Family History at discovering cancer risk.
I actually sent some data Ken Offit’s way about a similar thing way back when, Ken is yet another, really smart guy. He wasn’t surprised. Nor was I when I heard Dr. Eng’s findings.

First, Caveat Emptor

This is an abstract! Repeat after me……

What does that mean?

1. It is not peer reviewed fully
2. It is not published yet
3. It is preliminary data

This test was Navigenics Compass vs Family History in 22 females with breast cancer, 22 males with prostate cancer and 44 people with colorectal cancer.

What was the result? Family History placed far more people in the proper high risk category. 8:1

Family History put 22 people in the appropriate High Risk Hereditary Category, DTCG only one.

Further, it looks to me that the Navi “Gene” Scan missed several high risk patients who actually had MMR mutations (I.E. Genetic Cancer)…..D’Oh.

First off, this is like a case study. But it signals a HUGE shortcoming of DTCG. False reassurance.

I have been beating this over the head for 3 years now! These tests that have “medical” relevance need to be couched with proper medical guidance.

There are huge shortcomings in the current offering of DTCG tests and those offering medical information need to be regulated as medical. This is a classic case in point of potential and REAL missed cases.

Not Good.

That being said. It is November AKA Family History Month. You should absolutely take your family history and bring it to your doctor. If they don’t know what to do with it, call us. We do.

The Sherpa Says: No surprises Charis, I saw this with some DTC cases I have had, passed it on to Ken who passed it on to NIH and The IOM. This is the huge problem with hype and over promise. It always fails to deliver, unfortunately in this case at a great risk to consumers.

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