Dr. Gradishar on Using Genetic Testing to Identify Actionable Results in Breast Cancer

William J. Gradishar, MD
Published: Friday, Mar 09, 2018



William J. Gradishar, MD, interim chief of hematology and oncology, Department of Medicine, Betsy Bramsen Professorship of Breast Oncology, professor of medicine (hematology and oncology), Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, discusses the utilization of genetic testing in breast cancer to identify actionable results for patients. Gradishar shared his thoughts in an interview with OncLive during the 35th Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference.

The modern use of genetic testing is evolving; however, the process has been done for many years in testing for relatively common mutations, such as BRCA1/2. Knowing this status can lead to counseling for patients, as well as their families who may also harbor this gene.

Moreover, the identification of BRCA1/2 mutation status can also lead to surgical treatment decisions for patients, Gradishar says, including oophorectomy and bilateral mastectomy. Now, olaparib (Lynparza), a PARP inhibitor, is approved by the FDA to treat patients with germline BRCA-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer who have previously received chemotherapy as of January 2018. Gradishar predicts that more PARP inhibitors will be approved, such as talazoparib, in the future.

Understanding which patients harbor these mutations will remain important, and there is a likelihood that more genetic testing will be done on patients as time evolves, Gradishar explains.

<<< View more from the 2018 Miami Breast Cancer Conference


William J. Gradishar, MD, interim chief of hematology and oncology, Department of Medicine, Betsy Bramsen Professorship of Breast Oncology, professor of medicine (hematology and oncology), Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, discusses the utilization of genetic testing in breast cancer to identify actionable results for patients. Gradishar shared his thoughts in an interview with OncLive during the 35th Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference.

The modern use of genetic testing is evolving; however, the process has been done for many years in testing for relatively common mutations, such as BRCA1/2. Knowing this status can lead to counseling for patients, as well as their families who may also harbor this gene.

Moreover, the identification of BRCA1/2 mutation status can also lead to surgical treatment decisions for patients, Gradishar says, including oophorectomy and bilateral mastectomy. Now, olaparib (Lynparza), a PARP inhibitor, is approved by the FDA to treat patients with germline BRCA-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer who have previously received chemotherapy as of January 2018. Gradishar predicts that more PARP inhibitors will be approved, such as talazoparib, in the future.

Understanding which patients harbor these mutations will remain important, and there is a likelihood that more genetic testing will be done on patients as time evolves, Gradishar explains.

<<< View more from the 2018 Miami Breast Cancer Conference

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Community Practice Connections™: Medical Crossfire®: Translating Lessons Learned with PARP Inhibition to the Treatment of Breast Cancer—Expert Exchanges on Novel Strategies to Personalize CareAug 29, 20181.5
Community Practice Connections™: 1st Annual International Congress of Oncology Pathology™: Towards Harmonization of Pathology and Oncology StandardsAug 30, 20182.0
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