Genetic Testing for Neuroendocrine Tumors

Genetic testing for neuroendocrine tumors uses DNA sequencing. (Shown here at NIH).

Genetic testing for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) looks for  inherited conditions and syndromes that can increase a person’s risk for neuroendocrine cancer. If your medical history or your family history shows you may have an inherited risk, your doctor may order genetic testing.

Genetic testing for NETs

Gene testing for NETs is specialized. Specific tests look for specific genes and certain changes in those genes. It’s important your care team guides any decisions about genetic testing, so the tests are reliable, accurate and meaningful.

Genetic counseling can help people consider the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing. Sometimes genetic testing is not needed,

Genetic counseling includes a detailed review of the individual’s personal and family medical history related to possible cancer risk. Counseling also includes discussions about such issues as:

  • Whether genetic testing is appropriate
  • Which specific test(s) might be used
  • The technical accuracy of the test(s)
  • The usefulness of the test in making health care decisions
  • The psychological risks and benefits of learning one’s genetic test results
    Genetic tests may not be covered by all insurance plans. Or tests may only be covered under strict criteria. It’s important to contact your health insurance plan to learn more about your coverage and to ask about the costs for genetic testing in advance of making any decisions.

Laura Bananszynski, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Mutated genes in pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.