Why would a woman get an Oncotype test after breast cancer surgery?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
The Oncotype DX test is most useful for women who may not need chemotherapy to treat the breast cancer, such as women who have:
  • A single tumor small enough to be removed by lumpectomy
  • No spread of cancer to lymph nodes in the armpit
  • Cancer cells that test positive for estrogen only receptors
The Oncotype DX test can help predict whether the breast cancer will come back later on. The cells are analyzed for their genetic make up. Specific genes are measured in the sample.

This helps predict whether the woman's cancer is likely to return. When the test suggests that a return risk is high, the doctor will likely suggest additional treatment — often chemotherapy — to help reduce this risk.

Researchers are trying to find other gene tests that can be applied to a wider selection of breast cancer, not only the estrogen positive and negative lymph node ones.
Living Through Breast Cancer - PB

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Living Through Breast Cancer - PB

Winner of two prestigious American Medical Writers Association awards A compassionate guide to surviving breast cancer from a doctor who has experienced it from both sides of the stethoscope In...
Dennis L. Citrin, MD
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The Oncotype test provides information about the genetic structure of cancer and can help identify cancers which are less aggressive and therefore may not need chemotherapy treatment. This is appropriate for individuals who have estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and can help physicians like myself create a plan that is truly individualized to each unique patient.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.