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BackgroundGermline genetic testing affords multiple opportunities for women with breast cancer, however, current UK NHS models for delivery of germline genetic testing are clinician-intensive and only a minority of breast cancer cases access testing.MethodsWe designed a rapid, digital pathway, supported by a genetics specialist hotline, for delivery of germline testing of BRCA1/BRCA2/PALB2 (BRCA-testing), integrated into routine UK NHS breast cancer care. We piloted the pathway, as part of the larger BRCA-DIRECT study, in 130 unselected patients with breast cancer and gathered preliminary data from a randomised comparison of delivery of pretest information digitally (fully digital pathway) or via telephone consultation with a genetics professional (partially digital pathway).ResultsUptake of genetic testing was 98.4%, with good satisfaction reported for both the fully and partially digital pathways. Similar outcomes were observed in both arms regarding patient knowledge score and anxiety, with <5% of patients contacting the genetics specialist hotline. All progression criteria established for continuation of the study were met.ConclusionPilot data indicate preliminary demonstration of feasibility and acceptability of a fully digital pathway for BRCA-testing and support proceeding to a full powered study for evaluation of non-inferiority of the fully digital pathway, detailed quantitative assessment of outcomes and operational economic analyses.Trial registration numberISRCTN87845055.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of medical genetics

Publication Date



Institute of Cancer Research, Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Sutton, UK.