Variant of Uncertain Significance-Related Uncertainty in Breast Cancer Genomics

  • Sukh MakhnoonEmail author
  • Susan K Peterson
Breast Cancer Genetics (B Arun, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Breast Cancer Genetics
  2. Topical Collection on Breast Cancer Genetics


Purpose of Review

This paper considers the psychosocial implications of variant of uncertain significance (VUS)-derived uncertainty from the perspective of patients and providers and identifies potential uncertainty management strategies that can improve VUS-related clinical care.

Recent Findings

Based on the analysis of current research evidence around VUS-related medical management as well as provider and patient experiences of VUS-related uncertainty, we conclude that uncertainty around this new type of medical information is pervasive. Uncertainty appraisal varies across different contextual and situational factors—individual’s cancer diagnosis, provider’s experience with VUS, gene in which VUS has been identified, etc. Most importantly, strategies for uncertainty management that can address much of the VUS-related uncertainty also exist and offer hope for the thousands of VUS that will be returned to patients in genomic medicine clinics.


Uncertain sequencing results, when explained and relayed by experts in the presence of appropriate VUS-related reclassification and re-contact guidelines, increase the likelihood of maximal clinical and psychosocial benefit for patients without causing undue harm.


Uncertainty Variants of uncertain significance VUS Breast cancer Genomics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral ScienceUT MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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