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AHRQ identifies dozens of new genetic tests.

Thirty-eight genetic tests for 48 different cancers have been introduced since 2006, according to a draft report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The AHRQ conducted a survey of diagnostics for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The report will be used as a reference for internal CMS discussions and to help make decisions on future topics for systematic reviews.

Included in the AHRQ's survey are genetic variations, panels of genetic markers, measurements of gene expression and transcription products, biochemical biomarkers, topographic genotyping, and cytogenetic tests.

The tests fell into three categories. They were either approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or pending approval; conducted in certified labs; or available through the Internet but requiring a physician order.

The largest number of tests are for breast cancer; there were nine, used for prognostic and diagnostic purposes and for therapeutic management. There are also three pharmacogenetic tests for breast cancer.

The AHRQ identified six tests for colorectal cancer and four for prostate cancer.

By contrast, only 2 of the 38 tests are for lung cancer.

While aiming to be exhaustive, the survey might not have captured every test available or on the horizon, said the AHRQ in the report.

"Genetic testing is a rapidly emerging field with the potential to dramatically influence clinical decision making. Health care providers, patients, payers, decision makers, and consumers can benefit from staying abreast of newly released tests," concluded the agency.

The draft report will be finalized after the comment period, which ended Jan. 14.
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Author:Ault, Alicia
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Feb 1, 2011
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