About InheRET


Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease.  In 2017, it is estimated that 1.69 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer, and over 600,000 will die of the disease.  It is estimated that 10% of cancers are caused by changes in genes that are passed down in families (known as germline mutations). 

These mutations can greatly increase an individual's cancer risk.

If these mutations are found before a patient has cancer, there are actions that can be taken to greatly reduce cancer risk by as much as 95% for breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers, and to a lesser extent for other types of cancer.

The InheRET program has been developed to help physicians and other healthcare providers to identify their patients who may be at increased risk for hereditary cancer so they can begin to take the steps necessary to reduce their cancer risk.

Why is this needed?

Molecular diagnostics is a field that is experiencing exponential growth. In 2011, Molecular Diagnostics was a $4.8 billion industry and is projected to grow to $17.9 billion by 2024. The rapid growth of this industry impacts clinicians, laboratories, and payers alike. Currently, there are genetic tests for 138 germline mutations that can cause cancers or other conditions.  The level of expertise needed to interpret the data being provided by these tests and to ensure physicians and patients are able to understand not only the test results, but also the implications, is beyond that of most clinicians' training. Resources available to clinicians are widely scattered and time consuming to compile. Payers are having a difficult time determining which tests should or should not be reimbursed and when it is appropriate for a patient to have testing done. This is causing reimbursement issues between laboratories and payers and leaving clinicians and patients in limbo.


Why InheRET?

We met with physicians and other medical providers across the State of Michigan to find out the greatest barriers they face in providing high quality care to their patients who may be at risk for hereditary cancers or other conditions.  The top two barriers identified were

  1. Insufficient clinical time to take a complete 3-generation family history, which is required to identify high risk patients.
  2. Lack of knowledge on how to properly interpret the family history for risk status.

InheRET addresses both of these barriers.  With InheRET, patients complete their personal and family health history on any web-enabled device at their convenience.  When done, they submit the form online and their physician receives a comprehensive report - without any clinical time being used!

The reports indicate the patient's risk level and the recommended next step for the patient.  It also includes:

  • Patient's pedigree
  • Summary of all cancers or other relevant conditions in the family
  • Other risk factors such as alcohol and tobacco exposure
  • Screening tests already completed, as reported by the patient
  • Links to genetic specialists, physician and patient education materials, national guidelines and other resources.

In the time needed to review the report, the clinician has all the information necessary to determine how to proceed in the care pathway for this patient.