MammaPrint Test

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The MammaPrint test by Agendia analyzes 70 genes from an early-stage breast cancer tissue sample to figure out if the cancer has a low or high risk of coming back (recurrence) within 10 years after diagnosis.

MammaPrint test results, when considered with other features of the cancer, can help you and your doctor make a more informed decision about whether to utilize chemotherapy or other treatments to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Who's eligible for the MammaPrint test?

MammaPrint can only be used to analyze early-stage breast cancers. In the United States, MammaPrint can be used on cancers that are:

  • stage I or stage II
  • invasive
  • smaller than 5 centimeters
  • estrogen-receptor-positive or -negative 

Internationally, MammaPrint can be used on cancers that are:

  • stage I or stage II
  • invasive
  • smaller than 5 centimeters
  • in three or fewer lymph nodes

In both the United States and internationally, MammaPrint can be used to analyze cancers that are hormone-receptor-positive AND hormone-receptor-negative.

The MammaPrint test can be performed on fresh or freshly frozen breast cancer tissue or tissue that has been treated or "fixed" with a special solution to preserve the genetic material. The MammaPrint test also can be done on a sample of preserved tissue that was removed during the original biopsy or surgery.

How does the MammaPrint test work?

The MammaPrint test looks at 70 genes proven to have the highest relationship to breast cancer to see how active they are and then calculates a recurrence score that is either low risk or high risk:

  • A low-risk test result means that the cancer has a 10% risk of coming back within 10 years without any additional treatments after surgery. With hormonal therapy alone this risk can be reduced to 5%. 
  • A high-risk test result means that the cancer has a 29% risk of coming back within 10 years without any additional treatments after surgery.

How is MammaPrint different from the Oncotype DX test and the Mammostrat test?

You may have heard about two other tests that analyze breast cancer genes to predict recurrence:

While all three tests are somewhat similar, there are differences:

  • The Oncotype DX test is used to estimate a woman’s risk of recurrence of early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, as well as how likely she is to benefit from chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery. The Oncotype DX test also is used to estimate a woman’s recurrence risk of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and/or the risk of a new invasive cancer developing in the same breast, as well as how likely she is to benefit from radiation therapy after DCIS surgery. The Oncotype DX test analyzes the activity of 21 genes and then calculates a recurrence score number between 0 and 100; the higher the score, the greater the risk of recurrence.
  • The MammaPrint test is used to estimate a woman’s recurrence risk for early-stage breast cancer. The breast cancer can be hormone-receptor-positive or hormone-receptor-negative. The MammaPrint test analyzes 70 genes to see how active they are and then calculates either a high-risk or a low-risk recurrence score. MammaPrint results can help a woman and her doctor make a more informed decision about whether to use chemotherapy to reduce recurrence risk.
  • The Mammostrat test is used to estimate a woman’s risk of recurrence of early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. The Mammostrat test measures the levels of five genes in breast cancer cells. These measurements are used to calculate a risk index score. The higher the risk index, the more likely the cancer is to come back. Women are assigned to a risk category (high, moderate, or low) based on their risk index score.

Insurance coverage for MammaPrint

The Center for Medicine Services (CMS) will reimburse for the MammaPrint test for patients with up to three positive lymph nodes. Some insurance companies will pay for the total cost of the MammaPrint test, while others may pay a portion of the cost.

If you're considering the MammaPrint test, talk to your insurance company to find out if it's covered.

Agendia offers the Reimbursement Assistance Program to help with insurance and payment issues. If you don't have insurance or your insurance company doesn't cover the MammaPrint test, Agendia may still be able to help.

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