Implementation of preventive and predictive BRCA testing in patients with breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer: a position paper of Italian Scientific Societies


Constitutional BRCA1/BRCA2 pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants (PVs) are associated with an increased risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers. Current evidence indicates that BRCA1/2 PVs are also associated with pancreatic cancer, and that BRCA2 PVs are associated with prostate cancer risk. The identification of carriers of constitutional PVs in the BRCA1/2 genes allows the implementation of individual and family prevention pathways, through validated screening programs and risk-reducing strategies. According to the relevant and increasing therapeutic predictive implications, the inclusion of BRCA testing in the routine management of patients with breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers represent a key requirement to optimize medical or surgical therapeutic and prevention decision-making, and access to specific anticancer therapies. Therefore, accurate patient selection, the use of standardized and harmonized procedures, and adherence to homogeneous testing criteria, are essential elements to implement BRCA testing in clinical practice. 

This consensus position paper has been developed and approved by a multidisciplinary Expert Panel of 64 professionals on behalf of the AIOM-AIRO-AISP-ANISC-AURO-Fondazione AIOM-SIAPEC/IAP-SIBioC-SICO-SIF-SIGE-SIGU-SIU-SIURO-UROP Italian Scientific Societies, and a patient association (aBRCAdaBRA Onlus). The working group included medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, medical and molecular geneticists, clinical molecular biologists, surgical and molecular pathologists, organ specialists such as gynecologists, gastroenterologists and urologists, and pharmacologists. The manuscript is based on the expert consensus and reports the best available evidence, according to the current eligibility criteria for BRCA testing and counseling, it also harmonizes with current Italian National Guidelines and Clinical Recommendations.

Keywords: BRCA testing; BRCA-related cancer; BRCA1; BRCA2; PARP inhibitors; genetic counseling; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

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