Cascade Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast/Ovarian Cancer and Lynch Syndrome in Switzerland (CASCADE)

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Basel
Updated on 5 June 2022
ovarian cancer
genetic testing
endometrial carcinoma


Breast, colorectal, ovarian, and endometrial cancers constitute approximately 30% of newly diagnosed cancer cases in Switzerland and affect more than 12,000 individuals annually. Several hundred of these patients are likely to carry known genetic mutations associated with HBOC or LS. Genetic testing for hereditary susceptibility to cancer can prevent many cancer deaths through early identification and engagement in high-risk management care that involves intensive surveillance, chemoprevention and/or prophylactic surgery. However, current rates of genetic testing indicate that many Swiss mutation carriers and their family members do not use cancer genetic services (counseling and/or testing), either due to lack of coordination of care or due to lack of communication about the mutation among family members.

Cascade screening identifies and tests family members of a known mutation carrier. It determines whether asymptomatic family members are carriers of the identified mutation and proposes management options to reduce harmful outcomes. Robust evidence of basic science and descriptive population-based studies in Switzerland support the necessity of cascade screening for HBOC and LS. However, translation of this knowledge into public health interventions is lacking.

Specific Aims of the CASCADE study are:

  1. Survey Index Patients diagnosed with HBOC or LS from clinic-based genetic testing records and determine their cancer status and surveillance practices; needs for coordination of medical care; psychosocial needs; patient-provider and patient-family communication needs; quality of life; willingness to serve as advocates for cancer genetic services for blood relatives.
  2. Survey first- and second-degree relatives, and first cousins identified from pedigrees and/or family history records of HBOC and LS Index Patients and determine their cancer and mutation status; cancer surveillance practices; needs for coordination of medical care; barriers and facilitators to using cancer genetic services; psychosocial needs; patient-provider and patient-family communication needs; quality of life; willingness to participate in a study designed to increase use of cancer genetic services.
  3. Explore the influence of patient-provider communication about genetic cancer risk on patient-family communication and the acceptability of a family-based communication, coping, and decision support intervention with focus group(s) of mutation carriers and blood relatives.


Please see study protocol provided in the references

Condition Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Lynch Syndrome
Treatment CASCADE genetic screening
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03124212
SponsorUniversity of Basel
Last Modified on5 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Carrier of a mutation associated with HBOC or LS
Have at least one living blood relative
Men and women
18 years old and older
Mentally and physically able to provide informed consent
Can read and speak German or French or Italian or English
Currently living in Switzerland

Exclusion Criteria

Carriers of unclassified variants (VUS) in BRCA1, BRCA2 or MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM genes
Not living in Switzerland
Patients who are critically ill and cannot complete the CASCADE survey
Participants who are institutionalized (e.g., nursing homes) or incarcerated
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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