Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health

Statewide framework for cancer care germline testing

27 Sept 2022

Germline test­ing pro­vides impor­tant infor­ma­tion to guide treat­ment deci­sions in can­cer care. The use of germline test­ing in can­cer care has expand­ed rapid­ly in recent years, part­ly due to the growth in knowl­edge and tech­nol­o­gy around genet­ic test­ing, includ­ing new treat­ment options avail­able based on genet­ic test­ing results and an expan­sion in eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria for germline testing.

The Statewide Frame­work for Germline test­ing for can­cer care is being co-devel­oped and guid­ed by a mul­ti-dis­ci­pli­nary work­ing group across the health care sys­tem, to enable con­sis­tent and stan­dard­ised guide­lines and path­ways for can­cer patients. 

Work­ing group mem­bers includes rep­re­sen­ta­tion from SA Pathol­o­gy, SA’s Adult Genet­ics Unit (AGU), Local Health Net­works (LHN) and consumers.

The work­ing group, led by Dr Eryn Dow Clin­i­cal Can­cer Geneti­cist from AGU, recent­ly estab­lished a com­pre­hen­sive review of the cur­rent germline test­ing path­ways across mul­ti­ple LHN, to inform the pro­posed statewide frame­work and sup­port activ­i­ties for implementation.

The work­ing group mem­bers are essen­tial for the pro­vi­sion of clin­i­cal guid­ance and advice in deliv­er­ing the devel­op­ment of the frame­work and ensur­ing fea­si­bil­i­ty of imple­men­ta­tion with­in pub­lic hos­pi­tals through­out SA. The rela­tion­ship between SA Pathol­o­gy and AGU has allowed the shar­ing of knowl­edge and resources to facil­i­tate high lev­el data over­sight and enable the eval­u­a­tion and mon­i­tor­ing of main­stream­ing germline test­ing rates.

Estab­lish­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ship between stake­hold­ers has been an essen­tial com­po­nent of the devel­op­ment of the statewide germline test­ing framework. 

Devel­op­ment of a statewide frame­work will enable con­sis­tent and stan­dard­ised guide­lines and path­ways for patients with can­cer to improve germline genet­ic test­ing rates, reduce wait-times, inform can­cer care treat­ment and improve can­cer care. This work rep­re­sents a pilot project that will pro­vide the build­ing blocks that can be scaled and repli­cat­ed across oth­er aspects of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine and per­son­alised can­cer care.