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Sandy Srinivas, MD


ASTRO 2023: Strategy for Reducing Genomic Testing Inequities in Prostate Cancer

By: Julia Fiederlein Cipriano, MS
Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2023

According to Alexander J. Allen, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues, the presence of a precision medicine navigator may improve the disparate rates of Black patients versus other racial subgroups receiving standard-of-care genomic testing for prostate cancer. Their findings, which were presented during the 2023 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting (Abstract 122), also revealed the potential of such programs to alleviate inequities in testing among other demographics. 

“Prognostic genomic tools and genomic biorepositories suffer from a…lack of racial diversity,” the investigators commented. “Strategies to mitigate these amplifying developments in inequities are desperately needed.”

A total of 693 patients were treated within the 7 months before (44.9%) and after (55.1%) the arrival of a precision medicine navigator. The racial distributions were found to be similar between the groups, with 60.1% and 60.2% having identified as White, 35.1% and 34.0% as Black, 3.2% and 3.7% as Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.3% and 2.1% as Latino, respectively. According to the investigators, the groups did not significantly differ in terms of variables related to disease severity, income level, insurance coverage, and type of treatment facility.

Compared with Black patients who did not see the precision medicine navigator, those who received such supportive intervention were found to be sixfold more likely to undergo genomic testing (P < .001). The percentage of Black patients who underwent genomic testing seemed to significantly increase from 19.0% to 58.0% after the arrival of the navigator. Significant increases in the rates of genomic testing were also reported in patients with a lower median income (20.0% vs. 64.0%), those with Medicare or Medicaid coverage (20.0% vs. 68.5%), and individuals receiving care at community hospitals (6.0% vs. 77.0%).

Disclosure: Dr. Allen reported no conflicts of interest.

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