A Practical Guide to Genetic Testing in Endocrinology
Owens, M. M.
Park, S. M.
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Rapid advances in sequencing technology have led to significant improvements in genomic analysis, resulting in increased understanding of the molecular basis of many endocrine conditions. Genomic testing for rare disease is being integrated into everyday clinical practice, as the importance of confirming a genetic diagnosis earlier in a patient's pathway helps direct their clinical care and specialised management. In England, the new nationally commissioned Genomic Medicine Service has started to deliver testing for rare and inherited disease and cancer somatic tissue via seven Genomic Laboratory hubs. The range of genetic tests, technology employed and eligibility criteria for patient testing are all defined in the National Genomic Test directory. This review provides practical guidance on how to access genomic testing for endocrine disease, how to interpret and relay results, and details how genetic counselling can help integrate results into ongoing care of the individual and their family. This article discusses general principles as well as specifics related to the process of genomic testing in England. We illustrate mainstream genetic testing with a clinical scenario involving an individual with inherited endocrine neoplasia, followed by a generic description of the different steps involved, including informed consent to proceed to diagnostic testing. Most genetic tests analyse multiple genes simultaneously by next generation sequencing, and variant interpretation may yield not only pathogenic explanatory results, but also ambiguous outcomes, with variants of unknown significance or incidental findings. Delivery of results and post-test genetic counselling are therefore key components of integrating genetic testing into routine endocrine care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.