Aetna supports landmark study on BRCA testing

July 15, 2017

"To date, there has been no national study of BRCA testing in the community settings where most people receive their care," said Rebecca Sutphen, M.D., Professor of Genetics at the University of South Florida and lead investigator on the planned study. "We need to ask, who is being tested? Do they have access to the right experts and the right information to allow them to make informed decisions about testing? What choices are they being given and what options are they choosing to manage their cancer risk? The answers to these questions have tremendous public health impact."

"Health plan data contains a rich source of information that can be used to develop evidence about the effectiveness of clinical care," said Joanne Armstrong, M.D., Sr. Medical Director, head of Women's Health, Aetna. "The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have encouraged and promoted the use of health plan data to better understand the effectiveness of care and have specifically highlighted inherited risk for breast and ovarian cancer as a high priority area for research."

Accordingly, the two-year study to be funded by Aetna will be the first of its kind to provide data on the use and outcomes of BRCA testing among a large, representative population of insured individuals in the United States.

The study will examine de-identified data on approximately 13,000 Aetna members who receive BRCA testing. It will be conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida and Georgetown University, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society.