The Evolution and Clinical Impact of Diagnostic Testing - Episode 13

Role of Genetic versus Genomic Testing in Cancer

“Genetic testing is really about the patient, and it is helpful to find out what is the patient’s risk” to a particular disease explained Edmund Pezalla, MD, MPH. He thinks that research in this field—prediction of an individual’s risk for a particular type of cancer such as breast or prostate or colon cancer— is currently in its early stages.

“Genomics, on the other hand is about the tumor itself. The tumor has a different genetic makeup than the patient, and it might actually have a different genetic makeup subsequent to treatment. So a tumor further down the treatment road may be different from where it started,” said Dr Pezalla.

“So genomics is important in that it specifically tells us about the tumor that the patient has and it helps us guide treatment, while genetics is about the patient and it helps us guide screening and other preventive services,” he explained.