medwireNews: For individuals who have undergone germline genetic testing, receiving the results via telephone could be a valid alternative to in-person disclosure, trial findings suggest.
In the noninferiority COGENT (Communication Of GENetic Test results by telephone) study, individuals who had received in-person pretest counseling for clinical genetic testing for hereditary cancers were randomly assigned to receive their results via telephone (n=473) or in person (n=497).
As reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, telephone disclosure met the noninferiority threshold for two of the three primary outcomes – specifically, state and general anxiety – but not for change in genetics knowledge.
The telephone and in-person disclosure groups were also comparable with respect to secondary endpoints such as intentions to undergo screening or risk-reducing surgery.
Angela Bradbury (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) and co-investigators explain that “[g]iven the complexity of genetic information, potential for false reassurance and psychosocial distress, genetic counseling has traditionally been delivered in person.”
But they believe that telephone delivery could be “a reasonable alternative to requiring patients to return for in-person disclosure, minimizing burden for many patients without introducing clinically significant risks,” even in this era of multigene panel testing.
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