GenomeWeb hosted a virtual expert panel to discuss challenges, opportunities, and controversies related to informing clinicians, cancer patients, and their families of potential germline insights after receiving somatic testing. This case-based discussion provides an overview of best practices and lost opportunities, along with examples of the impact of current reporting practices on clinicians, patients, and their families.

Panelists brought their expert perspectives to this issue, representing stakeholders in oncology, molecular pathology, and genetic counseling. They discussed the pros and cons of reporting potential germline insights as part of the standard of care and addressed questions related to best practices, cost considerations, informed consent, liability, confirmatory testing, and the impact on patient care.

To view the webinar on-demand, click here.


Ellen Matloff, MS, CGC is a certified genetic counselor and president and CEO of My Gene Counsel, a digital health company that provides innovative genetic counseling solutions. Matloff was the founder and director of the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling Program, as well as a faculty member at Yale School of Medicine, for 18 years. She served as a lead plaintiff in the SCOTUS BRCA gene patent case of 2013. She now works closely with patient advocates in the areas of genetic counseling and testing and is an expert in the responsible return of results for population studies, healthcare systems, and precision medicine partners. Matloff is also a contributor on genetic counseling, testing, and digital health.

Veda Giri, MD is an associate professor in medical oncology, cancer biology, and urology at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a medical oncologist with specialization in clinical cancer genetics. Dr. Giri is Director of Cancer Risk Assessment and Clinical Cancer Genetics at Thomas Jefferson University, where she leads an integrated and comprehensive effort in inherited cancer risk assessment and conducts studies focused on genetic evaluation of cancer risk. She has focused interest in developing the field of genetic counseling and genetic testing for inherited prostate cancer.

Jonathan Nowak, MD, PhD is a molecular pathologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Through the Center for Advanced Molecular Diagnostics, Jonathan helps design and interpret next generation sequencing assays for clinical tumor characterization. He also leads a constitutional genetics testing service focused on hereditary cancer predisposition. In addition, Jonathan co-directs a translational research laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute focused on molecular, pathologic, and epidemiological characterization of colorectal and pancreatic cancer.

Jilliane Sotelo is an IMPACT Program Navigator at Thermo Fisher Scientific focusing on patient navigation in oncology and genetic counseling and testing of employees through the benefits program. She also works as the Corporate Leader of the Wellbeing Champions program to advance health metrics using local wellness programming. Prior to joining Thermo Fisher, Jilliane was the lead genetic counselor on the ProActive study at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, working to bring streamlined genetic testing and parallel somatic and germline analysis to the institution. Jilliane hold a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnologies from Arizona State University and an MS in Genetic Counseling from Boston University.

Daniel Silver, MD, PhD is a board-certified medical oncologist and a cancer biologist, who sees patients with breast cancer and those at high risk of developing breast cancer because of family history or other factors. Dr. Silver had a significant role in a clinical trial that suggested platinum chemotherapy would be active in triple-negative breast cancer. He also identified a new type of predictive biomarker of chemotherapy response based on the genome-wide pattern of alterations in tumor copy number, now called the HRD Assay. Both of these efforts have had significant clinical impact and have led to multi-institutional clinical trials.

To view the webinar on-demand, click here.