Cancer Predisposition Program​


The Cancer Predisposition Program at Lurie Children’s provides comprehensive genetic counseling and testing services to pediatric oncology patients and families at risk of hereditary cancer syndromes. We also provide management guidance and recommendations to families, based on the results of personalized cancer risk assessments. Our services are also appropriate for adolescent or young adult cancer survivors who would like to investigate their chance of passing on a hereditary cancer risk to their future children.

Certain hereditary cancer syndromes that appear in childhood are associated with an increased risk of a second primary cancers in childhood or later in life. Examples of these hereditary cancers can include, but are not limited to:

  • WT1 related Wilms tumor
  • Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Rhabdoid predisposition syndrome
  • Von-Hippel-Lindau syndrome
  • Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Familial pleuropulmonaryblastoma syndrome
  • Ataxia-Telangiectasia
  • Constitutional mismatch repair deficiency syndrome
  • Hereditary Retinoblastoma
  • Familial neuroblastoma
  • Juvenile polyposis syndrome
  • PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome

The Lurie Children’s Difference

Our program is a partnership between genetics and oncology specialists. It brings their unique areas of expertise together to create a specialized risk assessment for cancer predisposition. We take a personalized approach to medicine, adjusting each risk assessment to meet the unique needs of each patient and family. We typically use either single gene or panel-based genetic tests to identify certain genetic mutations that are linked to cancer or tumor development and can indicate increased risk.

During your visit, a 3-generation family tree will be collected with special attention to tumor types, ages of diagnosis, whether the tumor was bilateral in nature (i.e. Wilms tumor) and additional health conditions or physical features that may be related to genetic risk. This information is vital in determining what hereditary cancer syndrome(s) the patient and/or family is at risk of and should subsequently be offered genetic testing for. Genetic testing is optional and patients and families will be provided with information regarding the risks, benefits, and limitations of testing as well as support in their decision making process.

Our team is also focused on cancer predisposition research. We are in the process of building research programs and multi-institution collaborations to share knowledge with pediatric specialists across the nation.

What to Expect

Our team integrates with your child’s current care team to provide a seamless experience that compliments your child’s treatment plan. If your child is not being currently treated at Lurie Children’s, our program can provide a risk assessment, and recommend a surveillance plan and schedule to your child’s existing care team.

To meet all of the family and patient’s needs, our program offers support services to help each family navigate treatment. Our dedicated genetic counselor also aids each family with navigating insurance questions and applications to help secure maximum coverage for the patient. We also offer genetic testing for parents and siblings on a case by case basis, to determine if they are also at increased risk due to a  hereditary cancer predisposition.

Our Specialists

The Cancer Predisposition Program is a partnership between the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant and the Division of Genetics. Natasha Pillay-Smiley, DO, leads the program with close collaboration from genetic counsellor Shelly Weiss, MS, CGC; oncologist Yasmin Gosiengfiao, MD; and oncologist-researcher William Tse, MD, PhD

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, please call our scheduling staff at 312.227.3226​. The Cancer Predisposition Clinic is regularly offered at our Main Hospital location​ in downtown Chicago.​