Human Cancer Genetics Programme

Familial Cancer Clinical Unit

Head of Unit:  Miguel Urioste

Individuals that present with an uncommon malignancy or with cancer at an early age of onset deserve special attention because they are more likely to harbour an inherited predisposition and may require unique treatment strategies. Identification of a heritable cancer predisposition syndrome is not only essential for genetic counselling and for the design of a surveillance scheme for both the patient and his/her relatives, but also for facilitating the refinement and optimisation of treatment strategies so as to minimise toxicity and maximise efficacy. Vigilance of these syndromes can significantly enhance the quality and comprehensiveness of clinical management of cancer.

In addition, the evaluation of inherited cancer predisposition is changing with the routine use of NGS. Despite the promise of NGS, the utility of testing multiple genes with different modes of inheritance and with varying levels of penetrance has been questioned due to the increasing costs of surveillance and unnecessary treatments, and the uncertain consequences of the identification of variants of unknown significance. More than ever it is necessary to underline that NGS testing should only be offered in the context of expert genetic counselling.

In the Cancer Genetics Consultation of the Familial Cancer Clinical Unit (FCCU) we work together with Fuenlabrada Hospital clinicians, as well as health-care providers from other Madrid hospitals and other Autonomous Communities, in order to heighten the vigilance of hereditary cancer syndromes and to better adapt the genetic counselling process in alignment with the introduction of new technologies.