Oncotype DX®

Is Testing Right for Me? I Have My Test Results

Oncotype DX®

What Is Oncotype DX® Testing?

Oncotype DX® uses genetic information from a breast cancer tumor to predict the risk that breast cancer will spread or return later.

Genes act as an instruction manual for how to make all of the proteins our bodies need to grow and work. Certain genes are more or less active than usual in cells that have turned into breast cancer. Tests can measure how active a gene is, which is called gene expression. Each cancer has its own unique gene expression pattern.

Oncotype DX testing measures the expression of 21 genes in a breast cancer tumor. Together, these measurements give you a Recurrence Score® that ranges from 0 to 100. Lower scores predict a lower risk for cancer to spread or come back.

There are several different ways to try to prevent breast cancer from spreading and coming back, like tamoxifen and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may work well against cancer, but it can have serious side effects. Many people with early stage breast cancer don't have a high enough risk for cancer to spread or come back to make chemotherapy worthwhile. The risks of chemotherapy outweigh the benefits. Your Recurrence Score may help you and your doctor figure out which treatments are best for your specific kind of cancer.

Scores fall into one of three main categories: Low Risk, Intermediate Risk, or High Risk. The chart below summarizes what each risk group means.

Low Risk
Recurrence Score <18
~50% of patients tested
Intermediate Risk
Recurrence Score 18-30
~25% of patients tested
High Risk
Recurrence Score ≥31
~25% of patients tested
  • Least aggressive tumors
  • Recurrence unlikely
  • Low need for chemo
  • 2% benefit from chemo
  • High need for tamoxifen
  • More aggressive tumors
  • Recurrence more likely
  • Possible need for chemo
  • 7% benefit from chemo
  • Most aggressive tumors
  • Recurrence most likely
  • High need for chemo
  • 28% benefit from chemo

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