BACKGROUND: Exome and genome sequencing are routinely used in clinical care and research. These technologies allow for the detection of pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in clinically actionable genes. However, fueled in part by a lack of empirical evidence, controversy surrounds the provision of genetic results for adult-onset conditions to minors and their parents. We have designed a mixed-methods, longitudinal cohort study to collect empirical evidence to advance this debate. METHODS: Pediatric participants in the Geisinger MyCode® Community Health Initiative with available exome sequence data will have their variant files assessed for pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in 60 genes designated as actionable by MyCode. Eight of these genes are associated with adult-onset conditions (Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC), Lynch syndrome, MUTYH-associated polyposis, HFE-Associated Hereditary Hemochromatosis), while the remaining genes have pediatric onset. Prior to clinical confirmation of results, pediatric MyCode participants and their parents/legal guardians will be categorized into three study groups: 1) those with an apparent pathogenic/likely pathogenic variant in a gene associated with adult-onset disease, 2) those with an apparent pathogenic/likely pathogenic variant in a gene associated with pediatric-onset disease or with risk reduction interventions that begin in childhood, and 3) those with no apparent genomic result who are sex- and age-matched to Groups 1 and 2. Validated and published quantitative measures, semi-structured interviews, and a review of electronic health record data conducted over a 12-month period following disclosure of results will allow for comparison of psychosocial and behavioral outcomes among parents of minors (ages 0-17) and adolescents (ages 11-17) in each group. DISCUSSION: These data will provide guidance about the risks and benefits of informing minors and their family members about clinically actionable, adult-onset genetic conditions and, in turn, help to ensure these patients receive care that promotes physical and psychosocial health. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03832985. Registered 6 February 2019.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health