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1.  Disclosing Individual CDKN2A Research Results to Melanoma Survivors: Interest, Impact, and Demands on Researchers 
Whether to return individual research results from cancer genetics studies is widely debated, but little is known about how participants respond to results disclosure or about its time and cost burdens on investigators.
We recontacted participants at one site of a multicenter genetic epidemiologic study regarding their CDKN2A gene test results and implications for melanoma risk. Interested participants were disclosed their results by telephone and followed for 3 months.
Among 39 patients approached, 27 were successfully contacted, and 19 (70% uptake) sought results, including three with mutations. Prior to disclosure, participants endorsed numerous benefits of receiving results (mean = 7.7 of 9 posed), including gaining information relevant to their children’s disease risk. Mean psychological well-being scores did not change from baseline, and no decreases to melanoma prevention behaviors were noted. Fifty-nine percent of participants reported that disclosure made participation in future research more likely. Preparation for disclosure required 40 minutes and $611 per recontact attempt. An additional 78 minutes and $68 was needed to disclose results.
Cancer epidemiology research participants who received their individual genetic research results showed no evidence of psychological harm or false reassurance from disclosure and expressed strong trust in the accuracy of results. Burdens to our investigators were high, but protocols may differ in their demands and disclosure may increase participants’ willingness to enroll in future studies.
Providing individual study results to cancer genetics research participants poses potential challenges for investigators, but many participants desire and respond positively to this information.
PMCID: PMC3833711  PMID: 21307304
2.  Returning Individual Research Results: Development of a Cancer Genetics Education and Risk Communication Protocol 
The obligations of researchers to disclose clinically and/or personally significant individual research results are highly debated, but few empirical studies have addressed this topic. We describe the development of a protocol for returning research results to participants at one site of a multicenter study of the genetic epidemiology of melanoma. Protocol development involved numerous challenges: (1) deciding whether genotype results merited disclosure; (2) achieving an appropriate format for communicating results; (3) developing education materials; (4) deciding whether to retest samples for additional laboratory validation; (5) identifying and notifying selected participants; and (6) assessing the impact of disclosure. Our experience suggests potential obstacles depending on researcher resources and the design of the parent study, but offers a process by which researchers can responsibly return individual study results and evaluate the impact of disclosure.
PMCID: PMC3159194  PMID: 20831418
genetic testing; cancer; CDKN2A; risk communication; return of research results; protocol development
3.  Should Informed Consent for Cancer Treatment Include a Discussion about Hospital Outcome Disparities? 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e214.
Background to the debate: Several studies have found disparities in the outcome of medical procedures across different hospitals—better outcomes have been associated with higher procedure volume. An Institute of Medicine workshop found such a “volume–outcome relationship” for two types of cancer surgery: resection of the pancreas and esophagus ( This debate examines whether physicians have an ethical obligation to inform patients of hospital outcome disparities for these cancers.
Nadine Housri and colleagues examine whether physicians have an ethical obligation to inform patients of hospital outcome disparities for certain cancers.
PMCID: PMC2570421  PMID: 18942888
4.  Communicating the Results of Clinical Research to Participants: Attitudes, Practices, and Future Directions 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(5):e91.
The authors discuss the available data on the effects of communicating aggregate and individual research results on participants, investigators, and the research enterprise.
PMCID: PMC2375946  PMID: 18479180
5.  How Should Treatment Decisions Be Made for Incapacitated Patients, and Why? 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e35.
PMCID: PMC1820603  PMID: 17388655

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