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Factors Affecting Genetic Consultation in Adolescent and Young Adult Patients With Sarcoma

Grace E. McKay, Anna L. Zakas, Fauzia Osman, and Amanda Parkes

Background: Given a link between sarcomas and hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni syndrome, the consideration for genetic counseling is recommended for all adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients diagnosed with sarcoma. The aim of this study was to evaluate factors influencing genetic consultations in AYA patients with sarcoma at the University of Wisconsin (UW). Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on AYA patients diagnosed with sarcoma between the ages of 15 and 39 years who were seen at least once between 2015 to 2019 at UW. Our chart review identified discussions regarding genetics, referrals to genetics, genetic consultations, and results of genetic testing. Variables hypothesized to affect patient referrals for genetic consultation were identified a priori. Descriptive statistical methods and a univariate analysis were used to identify patient characteristics associated with genetic counseling referral. Results: We identified 87 AYA patients with sarcoma. Only 19 (22%) of these patients had documentation of a discussion about genetics, 15 (17%) of whom were subsequently referred for genetic consultation. Of these 15 patients, 9 (60%) were seen in consultation. All 9 patients seen by genetics underwent genetic testing, with 4 (44%) of these patients having identified heritable cancer predisposition syndromes. Likelihood for genetics referral was linked most strongly to documented genetics discussion with an oncology provider (P<.001). Conclusions: Despite the recommendation for consideration for genetic counseling in AYA patients with sarcoma, <25% of such patients in our study had a documented discussion about genetics. Supporting this need, all referred patients met criteria for genetic testing, and 44% of tested patients were found to have a heritable cancer predisposition syndrome. These data support the initial conversation by a provider as critical to genetic referral and suggest the need for more specific national recommendations for the genetic evaluation of all AYA patients with sarcoma.