Metastatic breast cancer patient perceptions of somatic tumor genomic testing

Elizabeth J. Adams, Sarah Asad, Raquel Reinbolt, Katharine A. Collier, Mahmoud Abdel-Rasoul, Susan Gillespie, James L. Chen, Mathew A. Cherian, Anne M. Noonan, Sagar Sardesai, Jeffrey Vandeusen, Robert Wesolowski, Nicole Williams, Charles L. Shapiro, Erin R. Macrae, Robert Pilarski, Amanda E. Toland, Leigha Senter, Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, Clara N. LeeMaryam B. Lustberg, Daniel G. Stover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: To assess metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patient psychological factors, perceptions, and comprehension of tumor genomic testing. Methods: In a prospective, single institution, single-arm trial, patients with MBC underwent next-generation sequencing at study entry with sequencing results released at progression. Patients who completed surveys before undergoing sequencing were included in the present secondary analysis (n = 58). We administered four validated psychosocial measures: Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Trust in Physician Scale, and Communication and Attitudinal Self-Efficacy scale for Cancer. Genetic comprehension was assessed using 7-question objective and 6-question subjective measures. Longitudinal data were assessed (n = 40) using paired Wilcoxon signed rank and McNemar's test of agreement. Results: There were no significant differences between the beginning and end of study in depression, anxiety, physician trust, or self-efficacy (median time on study: 7.6 months). Depression and anxiety were positively associated with each other and both negatively associated with self-efficacy. Self-efficacy decreased from pre- to post-genomic testing (p = 0.05). Objective genetics comprehension did not significantly change from pre- to post-genomic testing, but patients expressed increased confidence in their ability to teach others about genetics (p = 0.04). Objective comprehension was significantly lower in non-white patients (p = 0.02) and patients with lower income (p = 0.04). Conclusions: This is the only study, to our knowledge, to longitudinally evaluate multiple psychological metrics in MBC as patients undergo tumor genomic testing. Overall, psychological dimensions remained stable over the duration of tumor genomic testing. Among patients with MBC, depression and anxiety metrics were negatively correlated with patient self-efficacy. Patients undergoing somatic genomic testing had limited genomic knowledge, which varied by demographic groups and may warrant additional educational intervention. Clinical trial information: NCT01987726, registered November 13, 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Genomics
  • Metastatic breast cancer


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