Skin Cancer Genetic Testing Research
Klein Buendel Director of Research, Dr. David Buller, is a co-author on two recent publications reporting the results of studies on genetic testing and treatment decision-making for melanoma patients. Both papers report finding from a study directed by Dr. Jennifer Hay from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Dr. Marianne Berwick from the University of New Mexico.
Behavioral and Psychological Outcomes Associated with Skin Cancer Genetic Testing
The first paper has been published in the journal Cancer (Basel). The study investigated genomic testing of the common melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene for skin cancer risk in a randomized controlled trial in primary care settings in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Study participants were randomized 5:1 to a MC1R test invitation or usual care. Three-month sun protection, skin cancer screening, and skin cancer worry outcomes associated with testing, and key effect moderators (such as cancer risk perceptions, and skin cancer risk factors) were assessed.
Full research methods and results are reported in the publication and show that the primary outcomes were unchanged by the MC1R test offer, test acceptance, and level of risk feedback. Moderator analyses results are also presented in the publication. “Risk feedback did not prompt cancer worry, and average risk feedback did not erode existing sun protection,” according to the authors. More study is needed in the understanding and development of tailored strategies to address low skin cancer risk awareness and genetic testing.
This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute (CA181241; Jennifer Hay and Marianne Berwick, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators include Kimberly Kaphingst from the University of Utah; David Buller from Klein Buendel; Elizabeth Schofield and Yuelin Li from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Kirsten Meyer White from the New Mexico VA Health System; Andrew Sussman, Dolores Guest, Yvonne Dailey, Erika Robers, Matthew Schwartz, and Keith Hunley from the University of New Mexico.
Effect of Superstitious Beliefs and Risk Intuitions on Genetic Test Decisions
The second paper has been published in the journal Medical Decision Making. The study investigated cognitive causation, or superstitious thinking, and negative affect in risk as predictors of MC1R (moderate v. high risk) skin cancer genetic testing and responses to the testing.
Nearly 500 participants completed baseline assessments using validated measures of cognitive causation (beliefs that thinking about cancer risk increases cancer likelihood) and negative affect in risk (negative feelings generated during risk perception) and subsequently received a test offer. Participants could access a website to learn about and request genetic testing. Those who completed genetic testing for skin cancer completed assessments of cognitive and affective reactions two weeks after testing.
Methods, assessment measures, and full results are reported in the publication. In summary, negative affect in risk did not hamper test information seeking, but did inhibit the uptake of genetic testing. Those with higher cognitive causation showed more fear regarding their test result.
This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute (CA181241; Jennifer Hay and Marianne Berwick, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators include Kristen Riley from Rutgers University; Andrew Sussman, Dolores Guest, Yvonne Dailey, Matthew Schwartz, and Keith Hunley from the University of New Mexico; Elizabeth Schofield from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; David Buller from Klein Buendel; and Kimberly Kaphingst from the University of Utah.