Cancer care including oncology specialists, genetic counselors and advanced genomic testing is available for patients at UCSF.
Learn more about these services below.
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center combines basic science, clinical research, epidemiology/cancer control and patient care from throughout UCSF.
The Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center provides exceptional patient care at: UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program
The Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program is a comprehensive genetic counseling service for families with a history of cancer. It is the largest, most comprehensive genetic testing center for cancer in Northern California.
Genetic counselors assess personal and family history, provide education and counseling and, when appropriate, offer genetic testing for cancer predisposition genes. Based on family history, other cancer risk factors, and genetic testing results, counselors and doctors provide an individualized risk management program for each patient, which includes recommendations for cancer screening and options for preventive measures.
UCSF offers a broad range of genetic tests to help diagnose cancer, determine prognosis, and guide treatment decisions. The most comprehensive cancer test at UCSF is the UCSF500.
Human DNA codes over 20,000 genes, but only a small number of them are known to be involved in cancer. The UCSF500 test analyzes nearly 500 different genes, including the majority of known cancer genes. The gene panel is periodically updated to add genes that are discovered to be important in cancer.
To distinguish between acquired and germline variants the UCSF500 test has two parts:
- Testing of a tumor sample from a surgery or biopsy
- Testing of non-tumor cells from a blood or saliva sample
The test works by reading DNA sequences of the genes on the panel and comparing results in tumor and normal cells. Discovering genetic changes (variants) in tumor cells helps to guide treatment. Variants present in both samples may indicate cancer risks shared between you and any family members carrying the same variant.
Testing of Tumor Cells
Testing on tumor cells can usually be performed tissue obtained from a prior biopsy or surgery. A new biopsy is typically not necessary.
Testing of Non-Tumor Cells
Testing of normal DNA involves obtaining a blood, saliva, or skin sample. Testing of normal DNA is required to identify any variants present from birth, and will help determine which variants are exclusively present in tumor cells.
What will the Results Mean?
Your doctor will discuss the results of the UCSF500 with you. The test may help your care team individually tailor your treatment, including potential medication changes or clinical trial enrollments. The discovery of some variants in your normal cells may also give information about the cause of your cancer and your chances of developing cancer in the future.
Finding these variants may also be relevant for your family members, as they may also carry the variant. If such a variant is found, your doctor would refer you to a genetic counselor to discuss in greater detail. If cancer runs in your family and you would like to get more information about genetic testing, you can speak with a genetic counselor.
Where Can I Get More Information?
- UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Care Center: 888.689.8273
- UCSF Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program (Genetic counselors): 415.885.7779