FAQs and Useful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

When should the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score® test be used?
The Oncotype DX® test is for patients who have been recently diagnosed with invasive stage I, II, or IIIa breast cancer. The patient’s breast cancer needs to be hormone-receptor positive (HR+) and HER2-negative (HER2-). The Breast Recurrence Score® test is performed on the tumour tissue that has already been removed from your breast either by biopsy or surgery. The test results are needed before treatment begins - the test is intended to help guide treatment decisions. Learn more about how the Oncotype DX test works.
How will the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score affect my treatment plan?
After your tumour tissue has been analysed, you will receive a score between 0 and 100. A low score means that you have a lower chance of benefiting from chemotherapy. A high score means that you have a higher chance of benefiting from chemotherapy. Based on your Recurrence Score, you can discuss with your doctor whether you can be spared chemotherapy, or whether the addition of chemotherapy to your hormone therapy will reduce the risk that the cancer returns. On that basis, you can create an individualised treatment plan. Learn more about what you can expect from your test results.
What is the difference between genetic tests (for example BRCA 1 and BRCA 2) and genomic tests like the Oncotype DX test?
Genetic tests help people understand their risk of getting cancer. Genomic tests assess the biology of the tumour and help people who have been diagnosed with cancer with their treatment planning. Genomic tests enable physicians to treat cancer based on the individual biology of the disease.
What is the difference between disease prognosis and prediction of treatment response?
Disease Prognosis: Will my cancer return? Prognostic tests assess the risk that a cancer will return (recurrence) or spread. Prognosis can be estimated using clinical and pathological features such as tumour size and grade, or some genomic tests that provide prognostic-only information.
Prediction of Treatment Response: Will I benefit from treatment? An advanced genomic test can assess the likelihood that a cancer will respond to a particular type of treatment. In early-stage breast cancer, the Oncotype DX test is used to identify those patients whose cancer is less likely to return if they have chemotherapy in addition to standard hormone therapy.
What differentiates the anatomic stages of breast cancer? How does this affect my eligibility?
There are five different anatomic stages of breast cancer: 0, I, II, III, and IV. These stages are based on how much the cancer has grown and spread. For example, stage 0 cancer is an early form of non-invasive cancer that is contained in one place, while stage IV is cancer that has spread throughout the body. If you have stage I, II, or IIIa breast cancer, you may be eligible for the Oncotype DX test.
What does it mean to be HR-positive (HR+) or HR-negative (HR-)?
HR is short for "hormone receptor". Breast tumours are tested for both oestrogen receptors (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR). Approximately 80 percent of breast cancers test positive for ER. About 65 percent of those are also positive for PR.
You can test positive for ER, PR, or both. Either way, it means that hormones fuel your breast cancer. It also means that your treatment can include drugs designed to affect hormone production. It’s also possible to test negative for both hormone receptors. If that’s the case, your breast cancer isn’t fuelled by hormones, so hormone therapy wouldn’t be effective. Only patients who have HR+ early-stage breast cancer, are eligible for the Oncotype DX test.
What does HER2 mean?
HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that also appears on the surface of some breast cancer cells. HER2-positive breast cancers have a lot of HER2 proteins (“HER2 over-expression” or “HER2 amplification”). HER2-negative breast cancers have little or no HER2 proteins. Different treatments are considered depending on the HER2 status. Only patients with HER2-negative (HER2-) status are eligible for the Oncotype DX test.
How long will it take to get the results of the Oncotype DX test?
Most results from the test are available around 10 working days from the date the tumour sample is received by the Exact Sciences laboratory. The results are sent to your doctor so that he or she can discuss the results with you and answer your questions.

Useful Resources

Below are resources and videos that can help you learn more about early-stage invasive breast cancer, treatments and personalising your breast cancer treatment with the Oncotype DX test.

If you have questions about the Oncotype DX test and would like to speak with a knowledgeable customer service specialist at Exact Sciences, please contact us. They would be pleased to answer your questions about the test, but of course they cannot advise you on your individual case - for those questions, you should speak to your doctor.

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As the only test proven to predict chemotherapy benefit, the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test is included in all major cancer guidelines worldwide and now considered as improving care for women with early-stage breast cancer with results from the largest-ever adjuvant breast cancer treatment trial with over 10,000 patient participants.

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