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Online Genetic Test Results Can Help Smokers Quit

-- Jane Parry

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Whether genetic test results indicate relatives of lung cancer patients are at high or low risk for the disease, smokers' subsequent uptake of smoking cessation services is high, according to a study published online June 30 in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

Saskia C. Sanderson, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study of 44 smokers related to newly diagnosed lung cancer patients who were surveyed at baseline, before and immediately after receiving online genetic test results, and six months later.

Among the cohort, half were at higher risk due to a GSTM1-missing genetic test result, and half had a lower risk because they were identified as GSTM1-present, the researchers found. Many of the subjects accurately interpreted the results and none of the subjects reported regret at having the test, the investigators note. Both groups had similarly high rates of uptake of smoking cessation services, but those with the GSTM1-missing test result were less confident that quitting smoking could reduce their risk of lung cancer.

"This relatively small change from high baseline rates did not negatively influence uptake of smoking cessation services," the authors write. "However, the finding does highlight that personal genetic information about common gene variants of low penetrance must be communicated in such a way to avoid inadvertently reducing motivation to change behavior."

Abstract
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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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