Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health

Germline Testing

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.

To sup­port a stream­lined and con­sis­tent path­way for patients access­ing germline test­ing, the Can­cer Statewide Clin­i­cal Net­work (CSCN) iden­ti­fied the need for a co-devel­oped statewide frame­work. The devel­op­ment of the frame­work was guid­ed by a mul­ti-dis­ci­pli­nary work­ing group, includ­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion from SA Pathol­o­gy, Ade­laide Genet­ics Unit (AGU), Local Health Net­works (LHN) and consumers.

The work­ing group, led by Dr Eryn Dow Clin­i­cal Can­cer Geneti­cist from AGU, under­took con­sul­ta­tion with rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers across all SA LHNs which informed a com­pre­hen­sive review of the cur­rent germline test­ing prac­tice and path­ways across LHNs.

Enhancing Mainstream Germline Genetic Testing Support

Healthcare workers play a vital role in ensuring patients have access to comprehensive information about their healthcare options. To support the framework, we have developed resources to further support those undergoing Mainstream Germline Genetic Testing for Cancer.

Streamlined Patient Education:

To support the framework, mainstream genetic packs are available on the Adult Genetics Unit website for clinicians across the health system to support mainstream germline testing. These packs include information sheets, flowcharts, consent forms, testing criteria, guides, consent forms and partially filled pathology request forms.

Empowering Informed Decisions:

An informative video has also been developed, specifically designed for patients after their consultation with a cancer specialist. It offers clear and concise information about genetic testing, allowing patients to learn more at their own pace and ask informed questions during their appointments.

The Patient Information Sheet included in the packs is in the process of being updated to include a link to the video. Healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals can also share this link directly with patients. This empowers patients to participate actively in their healthcare journey and make informed decisions about their testing options.

Working Together:

By utilising the Mainstream Germline Genetic Testing Packs and the informative video, healthcare professionals can ensure their patients have access to the information they need throughout their cancer care journey.

Eval­u­a­tion of the frame­work is under­way, to mea­sure effec­tive­ness in terms of imple­men­ta­tion, util­i­ty and out­comes. Con­sumer expe­ri­ence and sat­is­fac­tion with the main­stream­ing process will also be captured.

We would like to thank SA Pathol­o­gy for their con­tri­bu­tion toward the project to enable high lev­el high lev­el data over­sight and enable the eval­u­a­tion and mon­i­tor­ing of main­stream­ing germline test­ing rates.