Other highlights in the January 21 issue of JNCI

Review Examines Effect of Genetic Counseling on Awareness, Risk Perception
Genetic counseling leads to increased knowledge of cancer genetics and does not have an adverse impact on anxiety or distress of the patients being counseled, according to a systematic review.

The identification of genes that are associated with a high risk of certain types of cancer has led to an increased demand for genetic counseling from individuals at increased risk for the disease. To determine the quality and strength of evidence related to psychological outcomes of genetic counseling for familial cancer, Dejana Braithwaite, of the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 21 controlled trials and prospective studies of the impact of genetic counseling for breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer on cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes.

They found that, in controlled studies, genetic counseling for familial cancer was associated with improved knowledge of cancer genetics but did not alter the level of perceived risk, whereas, in prospective studies, there was an improvement in accuracy of perceived risk. The authors conclude that these findings should be investigated further through well-designed, well-reported, randomized controlled trials with suitable comparison groups and additional outcome measures.

Gene Mutation Affects Sensitivity of Cancer Cells to Chemotherapy Drugs
A research team has found that a specific mutation in a gene critical to folate metabolism alters the sensitivity of colon and breast cancer cells to common chemotherapy drugs, suggesting that the gene might be a useful marker for tailoring chemotherapy or that it is a potential target to improve sensitivity to chemotherapy.

Folate is a form of a B vitamin that is critical for DNA synthesis, DNA repair, and epigenetic regulation. About 35% of the general North American population h

Contact: Katherine Arnold
Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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