Breast Cancer Relapse Test
In March 2006, Agendia BV (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Opaldia Ltd. (UK) agreed to distribute two types of breast cancer relapse diagnosis tests throughout the United Kingdom. The genetic testing methods known as MammaPrint and CupPrint can provide a medical diagnosis predicting breast cancer recurrence rates in a given patient. MammaPrint received FDA approval for genetic testing for breast cancer in the United States in February 2007, lending this testing method more credibility than the "home brews" previously used for breast cancer relapse prevention.
Breast Cancer Awareness: What is MammaPrint?
MammaPrint can be used as a tool for medical diagnosis to predict the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence within a ten-year period. Breast cancer tests like MammaPrint have previously helped guide the type of breast cancer treatments recommended to patients in early breast cancer stages.
Once breast cancer tumours are removed, patients often undergo chemotherapy treatment to decrease the chances of breast cancer relapse. Studies have shown that many of these patients would not have experienced breast cancer recurrence even if they had not undergone chemotherapy. By predicting the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence, testing methods of breast cancer recurrence rates can help provide a more personalized approach to seeking appropriate breast cancer treatments.
How MammaPrint Genetic Testing Works
MammaPrint works by examining the activity patterns of 70 specific genes in a breast cancer tumour once it has been surgically removed. A patient is then diagnosed either at a "low risk" or "high risk" of breast cancer recurrence based on their genetic signature.
MammaPrint genetic testing uses molecular technology known as microarray analysis to predict whether existing breast cancer is likely to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
According to some studies, approximately 23% of women deemed at high risk based on a breast cancer genetic test developed a recurrence of cancer somewhere in the body within five years. Only 5% of women at low risk experienced a recurrence of cancer.
Breast Cancer Testing: What is CupPrint?
The CupPrint genetic testing for cancer assists in identifying metastases Cancer of Unknown Primary origin (CUP). Metastasis is a tumour that has started from a cancer cell in another part of the body. For instance, if breast cancer spreads into the lungs, the tumour would be made up of abnormal breast cells, which require different cancer treatment than abnormal lung cells. Approximately 10% of metastasis cancer patients have CUP.
CupPrint testing is believed to successfully predict 80 to 90% of CUP cases by matching the genomic characteristics of tumour samples of 43 different types of cancer from a sample derived through a biopsy. The objective of CupPrint is to assist in cancer diagnosis so as to provide personalized cancer treatment and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Speak to your doctor for information about whether genetic testing for breast cancer is right for you.