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Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests

Last updated May 2, 2019

The Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests are used to assess the RNA profile of a sample of breast cancer tissue, to determine the prognosis, recurrence, and likelihood for metastasis of breast cancer.


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Breast Cancer Multiplex Gene Expression Tests
  • Gene Expression Profiling Tests for Breast Cancer
  • Multiparameter Gene Expression Tests for Breast Cancer 

What is Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests? (Background Information)

  • Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests evaluate several expression parameters together at a time. This allows for a more comprehensive information that can be used for treatment, predictive, and prognostic analysis. Such tests are also known as Multiparameter Gene Expression Tests for Breast Cancer
  • Parameters for Multiparameter Gene Expression Tests are RNAs. RNA is the product of transcription from DNA; the first step in converting the body’s genetic blueprint into protein. RNA then gets translated into a protein. The entire process is known as gene expression
  • The RNA present in a tissue gives clues about the tissue’s genetic activity. Cancer cells differ genetically from normal cells, and hence, such information is useful in assessing the cancerous state of a tissue sample
  • The Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests are used to assess the RNA profile of a sample of breast cancer tissue, to determine the prognosis, recurrence, and likelihood for metastasis of breast cancer
  • Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests include the following tests:
    • MammaPrint® test: To assess the expression profile of 70 genes
    • Oncotype DX® test: To assess the expression profile of 21 genes 

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests:

  • As a follow-up to a diagnosis of breast cancer
  • Prior to initiating treatment for breast cancer
  • After surgery, to remove breast cancer 

How is the Specimen Collected for Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests?

Following is the specimen collection process for Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests:

Sample required: Breast tissue

Process: Surgical removal of a small sample of breast tissue.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests Result?

  • Abnormal breast tissue expression profiles may indicate a poor prognosis, an increased likelihood for metastasis, or recurrence of the breast cancer 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Breast Cancer Gene Profile Tests are new types of tests that are growing in popularity. There is also a wide range of tests available. These tests are part of personalized medicine 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 24, 2014
Last updated: May 2, 2019