Implementing genomic screening in diverse populations
Noura S Abul-Husn,
Emily R. Soper,
Giovanna T. Braganza,
Jessica E Rodriguez,
Ruth J.F. Loos,
Judy H. Cho,
Sabrina A Suckiel,
Posted 06 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.04.21249213
Posted 06 Jan 2021
BackgroundPopulation-based genomic screening has the predicted ability to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with medically actionable conditions. However, much research is needed to develop standards for genomic screening, and to understand the perspectives of people offered this new testing modality. This is particularly true for non-European ancestry populations who are vastly underrepresented in genomic medicine research. Therefore, we implemented a pilot genomic screening program in the BioMe Biobank in New York City, where the majority of participants are of non-European ancestry. MethodsWe initiated genomic screening for well-established genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC), Lynch syndrome (LS), and familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). We evaluated and included an additional gene (TTR) associated with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR), which has a common founder variant in African ancestry populations. We evaluated the characteristics of 74 participants who received results associated with these conditions. We also assessed the preferences of 7,461 newly enrolled BioMe participants to receive genomic results. ResultsIn the pilot genomic screening program, 74 consented participants received results related to HBOC (N=26), LS (N=6), FH (N=8), and hATTR (N=34). Thirty-three of 34 (97.1%) participants who received a result related to hATTR were self-reported African/African American (AA) or Hispanic/Latinx (HL), compared to 14 of 40 (35.0%) participants who received a result related to HBOC, LS, or FH. Among 7,461 participants enrolled after the BioMe protocol modification to allow the return of genomic results, 93.4% indicated that they would want to receive results. Younger participants, women, and HL participants were more likely to opt to receive results. ConclusionsThe addition of TTR to a pilot genomic screening program meant that we returned results to a higher proportion of AA and HL participants, in comparison with genes traditionally included in genomic screening programs in the U.S. We found that the majority of participants in a multi-ethnic biobank are interested in receiving genomic results for medically actionable conditions. These findings increase knowledge about the perspectives of diverse research participants on receiving genomic results, and inform the broader implementation of genomic medicine in underrepresented patient populations.
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