Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 99–108

How do researchers manage genetic results in practice? The experience of the multinational Colon Cancer Family Registry


    • Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and SocietyThe University of Melbourne
  • Douglass Fisher
    • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin
    • Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer CenterColumbia University
    • National Cancer Institute (SAIC)
  • Sheri D. Schully
    • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer InstituteNational Institutes of Health
  • Jan T. Lowery
    • Department of EpidemiologyColorado School of Public Health
  • Dennis J. Ahnen
    • Department of MedicineDenver Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Judith A. Maskiell
    • Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic EpidemiologyThe University of Melbourne
  • Noralane M. Lindor
    • Department of Health Science ResearchMayo Clinic Arizona
  • John L. Hopper
    • Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic EpidemiologyThe University of Melbourne
  • Terrilea Burnett
    • Cancer Research Center of HawaiiUniversity of Hawaii
  • Spring Holter
    • Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive DiseasesMount Sinai Hospital
  • Julie L. Arnold
    • New Zealand Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer ServiceAuckland City Hospital
  • Steven Gallinger
    • Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive DiseasesMount Sinai Hospital
  • Mercy Laurino
    • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Mary-Jane Esplen
    • Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive DiseasesMount Sinai Hospital
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Toronto
  • Pamela S. Sinicrope
    • Department of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic
  • for the Colon Cancer Family Registry
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12687-013-0148-y

Cite this article as:
Keogh, L.A., Fisher, D., Sheinfeld Gorin, S. et al. J Community Genet (2014) 5: 99. doi:10.1007/s12687-013-0148-y


There is consensus internationally that research participants should be offered the opportunity to receive clinically relevant genetic information identified through research, but there is little empirical peer-reviewed work documenting this process. We report the experience of conducting genetic research with nearly 35,000 participants in the Colon Cancer Family Registry, based in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Investigators from six multinational sites provided information about disclosure protocols, implementation, and uptake of genetic results and made suggestions to inform practice. Across 5 of the 6 registry sites, 1,634 participants in families with mismatch repair or MutYH gene mutations have been offered results. Participant uptake ranged from 56 to 86 %. Researchers faced significant challenges in the effort to return results. We offer suggestions in five key areas: (1) planning for the disclosure process, (2) participant information, (3) autonomy of participants, (4) monitoring scientific progress, and (5) involvement of stakeholders. Despite increasing discussion of the importance of returning incidental findings from genetic research, this paper highlights the considerable diversity, challenges, and costs faced in practice when returning expected findings with established utility and validity. We argue that more work is needed to ensure that genetic results in research are optimally managed.


Colorectal neoplasmsGenetic predisposition testingHereditary nonpolyposisDisclosure of research results

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013