Clinical Topics & News

New Delivery Models Improve Access to Germline Testing for Patients With Advanced Prostate Cancer



The VA Oncology Clinical Pathway for Prostate Cancer is the first to include both tumor and germline testing to inform treatment and clinical trial eligibility for advanced disease. Anticipating increased germline testing demand, new germline testing delivery models were created to augment the existing traditional model of referring patients to genetics providers (VA or non-VA) for germline testing. The new models include: a non-traditional model where oncology clinicians perform all pre- and post-test activities and consult genetics when needed, and a hybrid model where oncology clinicians obtain informed consent and place e-consults for germline test ordering, results disclosure, and genetics follow-up, as needed. We sought to assess germline testing by delivery model.


Data sources included the National Precision Oncology Program (NPOP) dashboard and NPOP-contracted germline testing laboratories. Patient inclusion criteria: living as of 5/2/2021 with VA oncology or urology visits after 5/2/2021. We used multivariate regression to assess associations between patient characteristics and germline testing between 5/3/2021 (pathway launch) and 5/2/2022, accounting for clustering of patients within ordering clinicians.


We identified 16,041 patients from 129 VA facilities with average age 75 years (SD, 8.2; range, 36- 102), 28.7% Black and 60.0% White. Only 5.6% had germline testing ordered by 60 clinicians at 67 facilities with 52.2% of orders by the hybrid model, 32.1% the non-traditional model, and 15.4% the traditional model. Patient characteristics positively associated with germline testing included care at hybrid model (OR, 6.03; 95% CI, 4.62-7.88) or non-traditional model facilities (OR, 5.66; 95% CI, 4.24-7.56) compared to the traditional model, completing tumor molecular testing (OR, 5.80; 95%CI, 4.98-6.75), and Black compared with White race (OR, 1.24; 95%CI, 1.06-1.45). Compared to patients aged < 66 years, patients aged 66-75 years and 76-85 years were less likely to have germline testing (OR, 0.74; 95%CI, 0.60-0.90; and OR, 0.67; 95%CI, 0.53-0.84, respectively).


Though only a small percentage of patients with advanced prostate cancer had NPOP-supported germline testing since the pathway launch, the new delivery models were instrumental to improving access to germline testing. Ongoing evaluation will help to understand observed demographic differences in germline testing. Implementation and evaluation of strategies that promote adoption of the new germline testing delivery models is needed. 0922FED AVAHO_Abstracts.indd 15 8

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