Oncotype DX®

Is Testing Right for Me? I Have My Test Results

Oncotype DX®

Pros and Cons

Everyone who is deciding whether to have testing should first ask:

  • "Why am I getting tested?"
  • "What will this test mean for me?"
  • "What are the benefits of testing?"
  • "What are the possible drawbacks of testing?"

These are very personal decisions. Before testing with Oncotype DX®, we recommend you consider the medical and personal issues involved in testing.

  • Oncotype DX testing can help predict if cancer will return and spread in the next ten years.
  • Oncotype DX is more accurate than standard pathology at predicting cancer recurrence.
  • The Recurrence Score® adds to the information that doctors currently use to make treatment decisions.
  • Oncotype DX can help tailor treatment to a specific tumor type.
  • Some people may feel greater assurance in their treatment choices.
  • Some people may find knowing their risks helpful when planning their future.
  • The Recurrence Score is only an estimate. It is not exact. Some patients will have a higher or lower risk than their score reflects. This is important because the score affects what treatments you may choose. Some patients may not get chemotherapy when they really need it. Other patients who don't really need chemotherapy may get it.
  • Predictive test results can cause significant and unexpected emotional reactions. Consider trying to anticipate how different results may make you feel.
  • Because the Oncotype DX test is relatively new, there is a lot we don't know yet. We don't know if results apply to all hormone therapies. Same is true for all types of chemotherapy. The original studies validating Oncotype DX only looked at tamoxifen and certain types of chemotherapy called CMF. We currently know less about other therapies. Future studies will help clarify these issues.
  • Oncotype DX doesn't look at inherited gene changes that may have caused breast cancer in the first place. This test only looks for gene expression changes in the breast tumor itself. You should talk to your doctor if you have a family history of cancer. If you have signs of an inherited breast cancer, separate testing for inherited cancer genes is available. For more information, see What Is Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.


Next: Understanding Gene Expression