FAQs & Useful Videos


When should the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test be used?

The Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test is for patients who have been recently diagnosed with invasive stage I, II, or IIIa breast cancer. In addition, the patient’s breast cancer needs to be estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) and HER2-negative (HER2-).

The Breast Recurrence Score test is performed on a post-surgery (lumpectomy) tumor sample or on a core biopsy. As a result, the test should be used after the original surgery or biopsy, but before treatment begins—since the test is intended to help guide treatment decisions. Learn more about how the Breast Recurrence Score test works.

What is the difference between genetic tests (e.g., BRCA 1 and BRCA 2) and
genomic tests like the Oncotype DX test?

Genetic tests help people understand their risk for getting cancer. Genomic tests help people who have been diagnosed with cancer with their treatment planning. Once you have cancer, the activity of certain genes in your tumor tissue influences the behavior of your tumor, including how likely it is to grow and spread. The Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test looks at these genes to help you and your doctor make decisions about your care.

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 tell you 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 Breast Recurrence Score test.

If you have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), you have stage 0 (non-invasive) cancer. “In situ” means all of the cancer cells have not spread outside the milk duct. Only patients with DCIS are eligible for Oncotype DX Breast DCIS Score test.

Learn more about the anatomic stages of cancer.

What does it mean to be ER-positive or ER-negative?

Estrogen is one of the hormones in your body. It has many roles, such as triggering development of female characteristics and facilitating the reproductive process. In (and on) breast cells, there are “hormone receptors”—proteins that pick up estrogen signals that tell the cells to grow. They are called “estrogen receptors.”

If the cancer cells in your breast have estrogen receptors, they are called "ER-positive". ER-positive cancer cells (like normal breast cells) may receive signals from estrogen—so the cancer might respond to hormonal therapy. If the cancer cells don’t have estrogen receptors, they are classified as "ER-negative". With ER-negative cancer cells, hormonal treatment is unlikely to work, so your doctor will look for other options.

What does HER2 mean?

HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein 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 Breast Recurrence Score test.

How long will it take to get the test results of the Oncotype DX test?

Most results from the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test are available around two weeks from the date the tumor 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.

Is the Oncotype DX test covered by insurance?

Medicare and the majority of private insurance carriers cover the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score for eligible patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer. Since insurance coverage can vary across the country, it’s a good idea to check with your.

In addition, Exact Sciences' Genomic Access Program (GAP) helps patients navigate insurance and other options for Oncotype DX tests. Learn more about insurance coverage and financial assistance.

Useful Videos

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

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.

Oncotype DX - Outcomes Matter

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 standard of care for women with early-stage breast cancer with results from the largest-ever adjuvent breast cancer treatment trial with over 10,000 patient participants.

Making cancer care smarter.™