Genetic Testing Practice for Prostate Cancer Differ in Academic and Community Centers

Paul C. Boutros, PhD, MBA, discusses the different challenges facing prostate cancer genetic testing in the academic and community settings.

Paul C. Boutros, PhD, MBA, professor in the Departments of Human Genetics and Urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Data Science program, and associate director of cancer informatics at the UCLA Institute for Precision Health, discusses the different challenges facing prostate cancer genetic testing in the academic and community settings.

According to Boutros, the biggest difference between the two is the academic space is exploratory, while the community space has to be focused on implementable strategies. The academic space is always testing new ideas, trying to push things out before there is a definite benefit. For example, efforts are currently underway to make genetic testing of every patient with cancer standard. However, according to Boutros, that will not be possible in the community setting.

The problem with the inability to test all patients with cancer treated in the community is that it makes it difficult for community practitioners to get their patients into clinical trials. This poses a challenge in the academic space as there is concern clinical trials are not reflective of the population. Boutros says that these issues are not likely to get much better over the next decade, and a lot of work is still needed to bridge the gap.