Cancer patients’ acceptance, understanding, and willingness-to-pay for pharmacogenomic testing

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Abstract

Background

Pharmacogenomics is gaining increasing importance in the therapeutics of cancer; yet, there is little knowledge of cancer patients’ attitudes toward the use of pharmacogenomic testing in clinical practice. We carried out this study to explore cancer patients’ acceptance, understanding, and willingness-to-pay for pharmacogenomic testing.

Materials and methods

A broad cross-section of gastrointestinal, lung, breast, and other cancer patients were interviewed in terms of their acceptance of pharmacogenomic testing using hypothetical time, efficacy, and toxicity trade-off and willingness-to-pay scenarios.

Results

Among the 96% of 123 adjuvant patients accepting chemotherapy under optimal conditions, 99% wanted pharmacogenomic testing that could identify a subset of patients benefiting from chemotherapy, accepting median incurred costs of $2000 (range $0–25 000) and turnaround time for test results of 16 days (range 0–90 days). Among the 97% of 121 metastatic patients accepting chemotherapy, 97.4% wanted pharmacogenomic testing that could detect the risk of severe toxicity, accepting median incurred costs of $1000 (range $0–10 000) and turnaround time for results of 14 days (range 1–90 days). The majority of patients wanted to be involved in decision-making on pharmacogenomic testing; however, one in five patients lacked a basic understanding of pharmacogenomic testing.

Conclusion

Among cancer patients willing to undergo chemotherapy, almost all wanted pharmacogenomic testing and were willing-to-pay for it, waiting several weeks for results. Although patients had a strong desire to be involved in decision-making on pharmacogenomic testing, a considerable proportion lacked the necessary knowledge to make informed choices.

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