Anyone from NC had Oncotype DX Test

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/27/2005 7:23 PM (GMT -7)   
My surgeon was Dr. Richard White in Charlotte and I am meeting with him and his oncologist friend, a Dr. Fredricks (I think) on Monday.  I want to be prepared.  Has anyone had this test in the Charlotte area?  I had ILC, clear nodes.......but won't be taking Tamoxifen because of past heart attack.  Is this test only good if you are taking Taxoxifan?  What about other drugs?  Also, if chemo usually done before rads?  I thought I was becoming an expert at BC, but am finding out I know nothing.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 4/28/2005 5:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Janis,

While I don't live in NC, I thought I'd give you some more info. Here is the website for the Oncotype DX test: . Genomic Health is located in California so it doesn't matter where you live. They also claim to deal with your insurance company if there is any problem with reimbursement. They are reviewing my slides right now and I should have them within the week. It takes about 2 weeks to get any information on the slides. I brought the article (there are others if you just google "oncotype dx" ) and had no problem with my oncologist giving ME a written prescription and I contacted the pathology lab first thing the next day (my initial surgery was done in a different state).

This test does not have anything to do with Tamoxifen, although some literature says the results are based on women who will go on to have Tamoxifen. You do need to be stage 1 or II, node negative, estrogen receptor positive. I do meet these criteria but I will be inducing menopause to go on Arimidex (an aromatase inhibitor) that has been showing more promise than Tam. If the oncotype dx study shows a person would benefit taking chemo, then the chemo is done before Tam or the AIs. My oncologist explained it this way: the chemo durgs are looking for all the cancer cells, but the hormone treatments tend to bind or otherwise mask the cancer cells, so it is not as effective to do hormones first or concurrently. Makes sense!

You're right, there is so much to learn and find out. Write down every question you have so you won't feel like you've missed something. The doctors appreciate that - they want to be sure you feel confident in your choices, too!

I hope I've helped you. I know that there are others on the board who have done the Oncotype DX study (Mia is one) and will be able to give you more information. I wish you luck in your decisions, and if you have any other questions, I'm happy to help, as are others here!

The finger of God touches your life when you make a friend.
----Mary Dawson Hughes---

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/28/2005 7:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Laurie.........this information helps a lot !!!!!!!!! My appointment is Monday afternoon, so I will let you know what he says. I want to do whatever is needed to keep the cancer from coming back, but if I don't have to do chemo, I would rather not.
I, too, am stage 1 with neg. nodes. (lobular).

Thanks again and I will keep in touch.

L&H back to ya,

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 4/28/2005 8:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Laure' said it all, she's as educated as you can be on the Oncotype DX.  There really isn't anything else that I know of about it.  I had it done, scored a 3 (the lower the number the less chance of recurrence) and am just about done with my rads (next friday!).  I'm scheduled to take tamoxifen but am considering a hyster now since I have other issues going on there anyway.
Please keep us informed.  You'll be in my prayers.  And Laure' make sure to let us know when you get your results.  I've been thinking about you and praying for good results!
Love and hugs,
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

-Vesta M. Kelly

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/28/2005 8:40 AM (GMT -7)   
I was also told that the test is geared for those with smaller tumors, those that are borderline for needing chemo. I was node negative and ER/PR+, but my tumor was 2.5 cm...which is a pretty sure ticket to chemo. I recently asked the question and they said that due to the size of my tumor, I would likely not have been a candidate anway. I had inquired, regarding its relevance for future treatment or plan, as I am finishing up Tamoxifen (less than 2 months!).

Jean in WA
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 4/28/2005 9:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Janis,
I, too, had the Oncotype DX gene assay done, because I was so borderline for needing chemo. If it wasn't going help me, I certainly didn't want to go through it. The scoring for the test is to determine whether or not you would benefit from taking chemo. My score was in the low range, 16. I just barely made it, as the intermediate range begins at 18. If I had scored in the intermedicate range, I felt I needed to go ahead with the treatment. So now, I am doing radiation, and am half way through the 33 treatments. I will be following this with Arimidex, one of the new Aromatase Inhibitors. I has fewer side affects, and is for menapausal women, like me. I hope you get have the test, if you too are borderline. It is very expensive ($3450), and very new, so many insurance companies are reluntant to pay for it. I kept at mine, and finally they consented.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers...let us know how you do. By the way, my test results were completed in six days...I called the lab in California and talked directly with the staff several times. Maybe they wanted to get me off their backs!!
Take care, Jean in WA
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