Online Breast Cancer Support Network

   Home    Foundation    News    Newsletter    Resources    Sign-In    Tributes    Press    Store
Sign up for our Monthly Email Pink Power
Celebrate In Pink -- Distinctive Pink Ribbon Celebrationware
Walk for Hope
Pink-Link Story at
Pink-Link Breast Cancer Articles 

Oncotype DX assay: Is it Right for You?

January 31, 2010
by Cheya Pope, Genomic Health

Have you recently been diagnosed with early stage, hormone-receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer?  Are you struggling to make treatment choices?  Then you may be interested to know that each woman’s tumor has its own unique biological make-up, and that not all women benefit equally from the same type of breast cancer treatment.  If you are a woman with this type of cancer, the Oncotype DX® breast cancer test can help you and your physician decide whether or not chemotherapy may be beneficial in addition to your hormonal treatment. 


The Oncotype DX test is known as a genomic assay — it looks at cancer-related genes and how active they are, which can influence how a cancer is likely to grow and respond to treatment. The Oncotype DX test uses a sample of your breast tumor tissue to analyze the activity of 21 different genes.


Looking at this set of 21 genes can provide specific information on:

  • The likelihood that your breast cancer will return or spread
  • Whether you are likely to benefit from chemotherapy in addition to your hormonal treatment

By analyzing your tumor sample, the Oncotype DX test assigns the breast cancer a Recurrence Score® value. This score is a number between 0 and 100 that corresponds to a specific likelihood of experiencing breast cancer recurrence within ten years of your initial diagnosis. The lower your score, the less likely the cancer is to recur.  We also know that a lower score indicates that the cancer is less likely to respond to chemotherapy.  The higher the score, the more likely the cancer is to recur.  While this can be distressing, the good news is that women with higher Recurrence Scores are more likely to gain a large benefit from chemotherapy.  For these women, having chemotherapy now – in addition to hormonal treatment – may help reduce the chance that their cancer will come back in the future.

It is important to understand that a lower Recurrence Score result does not mean that there is no chance that a woman’s breast cancer will return, and a higher score does not mean that breast cancer will definitely return.  The Oncotype DX test results also provide additional information, such as the activity levels of the estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptors in your tumor, to help guide your treatment.

You and your doctor will consider your Recurrence Score report in combination with other factors, such as the size and grade of the cancer, the number of lymph nodes that have cancer cells in them (many cancerous nodes versus few), and your age. Together you can make a decision about whether or not you should have chemotherapy in addition to hormonal therapy.


If you are interested in finding out more about Oncotype DX – including information on insurance coverage and financial assistance – you can ask your doctor about it, or learn more at  Together, you and your doctor can use the information from Oncotype DX to help make an informed, confident treatment plan.

Back to Announcements

FAQ  -  Newsletter  -  Contact Us  -  Site Map  -  Privacy Policy -  Financial Disclosure -  Disclaimer -  Links  -  Banners
Copyright 2005-2010 Pink-Link. All Rights Reserved. 501(c)3 Tax ID#20-2884742