Oncotype DX® Influences Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

Understand Oncotype DX® and how this genomic test is used in the management and treatment of early stage breast cancer.

Among women with early breast cancer, use of the Oncotype DX® test changed oncologist treatment recommendations in approximately 32% of cases. Use of the test also increased oncologist confidence in the treatment recommendation and decreased patient anxiety. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

When is the Oncotype test used?

Oncotype DX is a genomic test performed on a sample of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer that measures the expression of 21 genes and generates a Recurrence Score. Oncotype gives two important pieces of information: how likely a cancer is to respond to chemotherapy, and how likely a cancer is to recur after initial treatment.

The Recurrence Score predicts the magnitude of chemotherapy benefit and the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence for women with early-stage, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. A lower score is associated with less benefit, while a high score is associated with more benefit. Individuals with ER-positive breast cancer should discuss with your oncologist whether an Oncotype test is likely to add helpful information for you.

What do the studies show?

To explore how use of the Oncotype DX test influences oncologist and patient treatment decisions and satisfaction, researchers collected information from 89 patients treated by 17 medical oncologists. Information about adjuvant treatment plan was collected before and after obtaining the Oncotype DX Recurrence Score.

  • Based on the Recurrence Score, the oncologist’s treatment recommendation changed for 31.5% of patients. The most common change was from chemotherapy plus hormonal therapy to hormonal therapy alone.
  • Recurrence Score results increased oncologist confidence in the treatment plan in 76% of the cases.
  • 27% of patients changed their treatment decision based on the Recurrence Score.
  • Patient anxiety was lower after receipt of the Recurrence Score results.

These results provide additional evidence that Recurrence Score results can influence treatment recommendations and treatment decisions for women with early breast cancer, and can help relieve patient anxiety.

Reference: Lo SS, Mumby PB, Norton J et al. Prospective multicenter study of the impact of the 21-gene recurrence score assay on medical oncologist and patient adjuvant breast cancer treatment selection. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. January 11, 2009.

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