PROACTIVE Research Study

PROACTIVE: PROfile And Cancer Gene Testing for IndiVidual Evaluation


PROACTIVE is a cutting-edge research study looking at inherited genetic material. While there are many genes, PROACTIVE looks only at genes with known increased cancer risk.

The study has two options, research and multi-cancer gene testing:

  • Research specimens will be used for genetic research, and participants will not receive results from this.
  • Multi-cancer gene testing looks at DNA from a blood sample. Participants will receive the results from this test, and the results will go into your medical record.

Results from multi-cancer gene testing could be important for other members of your family. Families who know they have a mutation may be able to manage their cancer risk by having specific screening or learning about ways to reduce their risk.

What is genetic testing, and how does it impact me?

This testing looks at inherited gene changes that would be in every part of your body associated with an increased risk for cancer, called germline gene changes, not at the genes in your cancer itself. These germline gene changes are inherited from parents to children. This means that if you have a change in one of your genes, you likely inherited it from one of your parents. There is a chance that your biological children and siblings will have the same mutation. Mutations found through genetic testing can be passed on.

Testing can provide you with information about what cancers you might be at risk for; whether additional screening and risk-reducing options are appropriate for you; or why you got your cancer. It may also tell us whether your family members need to have genetic testing, and then help determine their medical care options.

What are the benefits of genetic testing?

Genetic testing:

  • May influence your treatment
  • May offer future cancer screening and prevention options
  • May help family members learn about their cancer risks and seek prevention

What are the limitations of genetic testing?

Genetic testing:

  • May cause anxiety or distress to know about additional cancer risks for yourself and/or relatives
  • Possible discrimination for life insurance, long-term disability insurance, or long-term care insurance

Am I eligible to participate in PROACTIVE?

PROACTIVE is a voluntary research study. To participate you must be a patient at Dana-Farber's Longwood campus; however, the study is not currently available across the entire Institute. If you have received a bone marrow transplant, you may not be eligible. If you are under the age of 18, your parent or guardian can help you decide about participating in the study.

If I'm interested, what's my next step?

If you're interested in participating in the PROACTIVE study, speak with your provider at your next visit. Or for more information to help you decide, contact the study staff at

PROACTIVE: A study on genetic risk for cancer

PROACTIVE is a cutting-edge research study looking at inherited genes with known increased cancer risk.