MAGENTA Trial: At-Home Genetic Testing


SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— According to the American Cancer Society, about 21,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2021 and about 13,000 women will die from it. Research suggests that some women have inherited genes that put them at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Details on an initiative that can help women determine their cancer risk early on. Magenta Trial

Adriana Hutchings is putting the pieces of her life back together.

“Myself, I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer,” Adriana shared.

But Adriana got some more troubling news.

“Because of my thyroid cancer, I have higher chances of certain breast cancers,” Adriana explained.

She also has a long family history of cancer.

“My mom and dad both died of cancer and my aunt had ovarian cancer and breast cancer twice,” Adriana recalled.

Adriana was determined to know her genetic cancer risks, so she signed up to take part in the MAGENTA trial. One of the goals is to make genetic testing accessible to everyone by providing at-home testing kits.

“I think it’s particularly apt now, as we’re thinking about ways to deliver healthcare to people in their homes,” illustrated Elizabeth Swisher, MD, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

(Read Full Interview)

Participants are delivered a test kit where they provide a spit sample. The sample is then screened for breast and ovarian gene mutations. The participants got their result with or without counseling.

“We found out that women who had less counseling before the tests that they had, had less distress and a higher rate of completion of the testing,” described Dr. Swisher.

Adriana says completing the test was really simple and when she got her results back …

“I turned out to be negative for the BRCA gene, which was, of course, a huge relief. And it makes me feel a lot more confident about my future,” Adrianna expressed.

And the only surprises she expects now are the ones that pop up in her garden.

Even though the study found that patients received no increased anxiety skipping counseling, the team did provide counseling to anyone whose genetic test came back positive. Dr. Swisher says multiple doctors visits, counseling sessions, and blood draws do deter people from getting genetically tested for cancer gene mutations. Eliminating these unnecessary steps can provide more people the opportunity to get tested and catch cancer early.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,410 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 13,770 women will die from it. Ovarian cancer is  the fifth deadliest cancer among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman has a one in 78 chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer during her lifetime and a lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer of one in 108. About half the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. And, about one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2021, 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. and 43,600 of them are expected to die.


DIAGNOSING: About five to ten percent of breast cancers can be linked to genetic mutations inherited from parents. The most common mutations are in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Typically, people with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72 percent chance of developing breast cancer. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations tend to develop mostly in younger women. An increased risk for ovarian cancer is also linked to these genetic mutations. a person’s risk of getting breast cancer nearly doubles if they have a first degree relative such as a mother, daughter, or sister, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in in people who have no family history of breast cancer due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process, rather than inherited mutations. About 15 percent of people who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: The MAGENTA trial is a clinical trial aimed at making genetic testing available to everyone by providing at-home spit-testing kits. Four-thousand participants across all 50 states were delivered the kit; they provided a spit sample, then mailed back the kit for screening of the ovarian and breast cancer gene mutations. The accuracy of the at-home test kit is the same kit and same results as an in-person doctor’s office screening and specimens are still sent to the same company. Elizabeth Swisher, MD a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine says, “It’s just that the current mode of genetic testing is usually we make the patient come in, they have to see a counselor. They then get insurance pre-authorization for the test and then they get the test done. Then a few weeks later, they have to come back and get the results in person. So, it requires several visits. This bypasses that and hopefully, makes it more accessible to people.”

(Source: Elizabeth Swisher, MD, Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine)





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Doctor Q and A

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