The impact of unsolicited findings in clinical exome sequencing, a qualitative interview study

V. van der Schoot*, S.J. Viellevoije, F. Tammer, H.G. Brunner, Y. Arens, H.G. Yntema, A.J.M. Oerlemans*

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Web of Science)


Unsolicited findings (UFs) in clinical exome sequencing are variants that are unrelated to the initial clinical question the DNA test was performed for, but that may nonetheless be of medical relevance to patients and/or their families. There is limited knowledge about the impact of UFs on patients' lives. In order to characterise patient perceptions of the impact of an UF, we conducted 20 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with patients and/or their relatives to whom an UF predisposing to oncological disease (n = 10) or predisposing to a cardiac condition (n = 10) had been disclosed. We have identified a psychological, physical and financial aspect of the perceived impact of UF disclosure in exome sequencing. Actionability, understanding, patients' pre-test health and social context were influencing factors, according to our participants. Although most expressed considerable psychological impact initially, all but one participant would choose to undergo genetic testing again, knowing what they know now. These novel findings provide insight in patients' perspectives on the impact of UF disclosure. Our study highlights the value of incorporating patients' perceptions in UF disclosure policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-939
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number6
Early online date26 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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