This study is the first survey of the genomic literacy of medical oncologists as co-investigators on a trial using medical genomic “big data”. The Personalized Onco-Genomics Program (POG) conducts whole genome DNA and RNA sequencing and in-depth bioinformatic analyses on patients with metastatic cancers to identify somatic variants and gene expression changes that may be targetable cancer “drivers”. Aberrant pathways are matched to drug databases and this data is reported to the clinician for each individual patient.
We conducted a survey of medical oncologists based at the six tertiary care cancer hospitals of the BC Cancer Agency (n = 31, 52.5% response rate) who enroll patients into POG. We measured oncologists' level of genomic knowledge and their experience and attitudes about genomic science and technologies.
We found a low to moderate level of genomic literacy amongst the oncologists as 48% reported having little knowledge about newer genetic/genomic technologies. Clinicians outside of the Vancouver area (the major urban centre) reported having less knowledge about new genetics technologies compared to those located in the Vancouver area (26.7% vs 73.3%, P
The data suggests a high need to increase genomic literacy amongst oncologists beginning in medical school and with ongoing educational tools. Although these oncologists had variable experiences with POG directly informing treatment decisions; there was overall agreement that genomics and big data will play an increasingly important role in cancer care decision-making.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
BC Cancer Agency
BC Cancer Foundation
J. Laskin: Academic talk honoraria: AZ, Roche. Research grants to institution from: BI, Lilly and Roche. C. Ho: Honoraria AZ, Bayer, BMS, BI, Pfizer, Lilly, Roche. Research grants BI, Genzyme. Travel grant BI. D. Renouf: Honoraria from Celgene. H. Lim: Honoraria/Consulting/Research Funding: Eli Lilly, Leo, Bayer, Ipsen, Amgen. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.