Reporting Incidental Findings in Genomic Scale Clinical Sequencing-A Clinical Laboratory Perspective: A Report of the Association for Molecular Pathology
J Mol Diagn
Advances in sequencing technologies have facilitated concurrent testing for many disorders, and the results generated may provide information about a patient's health that is unrelated to the clinical indication, commonly referred to as incidental findings. This is a paradigm shift from traditional genetic testing in which testing and reporting are tailored to a patient's specific clinical condition. Clinical laboratories and physicians are wrestling with this increased complexity in genomic testing and reporting of the incidental findings to patients. An enormous amount of discussion has taken place since the release of a set of recommendations from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. This discussion has largely focused on the content of the incidental findings, but the laboratory perspective and patient autonomy have been overlooked. This report by the Association of Molecular Pathology workgroup discusses the pros and cons of next-generation sequencing technology, potential benefits, and harms for reporting of incidental findings, including the effect on both the laboratory and the patient, and compares those with other areas of medicine. The importance of genetic counseling to preserve patient autonomy is also reviewed. The discussion and recommendations presented by the workgroup underline the need for continued research and discussion among all stakeholders to improve our understanding of the effect of different policies on patients, providers, and laboratories.
School of Medicine
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine