Genetic Test Can Predict Recurrence Risk, Help Make Treatment Decisions

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If you're a postmenopausal woman diagnosed with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, a study offers additional evidence that the Oncotype DX test may offer you and your doctor more information you can use to predict your risk of cancer recurrence. This can help you make the best treatment decisions.

The Oncotype DX test can help determine which breast cancers are likely to respond to chemotherapy in addition to hormonal therapy, as opposed to hormonal therapy alone.

Earlier research showed that the Oncotype DX also can help the decision-making process for postmenopausal women diagnosed with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer that has NOT spread to the lymph nodes. Many doctors already use the Oncotype DX test to plan treatment for these women.

The Oncotype DX test measures the levels of 21 genes in breast cancer cells. These genes can affect how the breast cancer will behave and respond to certain treatments. These measurements are used to calculate a recurrence score. The higher the recurrence score, the more likely the cancer is to come back or spread. Women with a high recurrence score are more likely to benefit from chemotherapy in addition to hormonal therapy. Women with a low recurrence score may be able avoid chemotherapy that probably won't give them any additional benefits.

If you're weighing the pros and cons of adding chemotherapy to your treatment plan, the Oncotype DX test may help you make that decision. Still, it's important to remember that each woman's situation is unique and this test isn't absolutely perfect. You and your doctor will want to consider other factors, such as:

  • your age
  • the size of the cancer
  • hormone receptor protein levels
  • cancer grade

when deciding on whether you'd benefit from chemotherapy. Together, you can make the best treatment decisions for YOU.

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