Oncotype DX test

The Oncotype DX test, which could help women diagnosed with breast cancer avoid unnecessary chemotherapy is covered on all Irish Life Health insurance plans. The test helps Oncologists predict the benefit of chemotherapy for particular patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.

The Oncotype DX breast cancer assay is a 21-gene test that predicts the patient’s likely benefit from chemotherapy as well as their likelihood of breast cancer recurrence. The test provides oncologists with more detailed, patient specific information to help them decide on the best clinical care for their patient. The Oncotype DX test examines the exact nature of an early stage breast cancer tumour and the likelihood of the condition recurring within 10 years.  

How is the test done?

Consultants request the test on behalf of their patients and Irish Life Health members diagnosed with a particular form1 of breast cancer will be fully covered for the test that ordinarily costs €3,180. When the test is requested by the consultant and approved by Irish Life Health, a small amount of tissue, that has already been removed during the patient’s surgery, is sent to Genomic Health’s CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited clinical reference laboratory in the USA for testing by a team of expert pathologists. A report detailing the patient’s recurrence score is prepared and returned to the ordering physician within 9-12 calendar days for discussion with the patient. The Recurrence Score is a number between 1 and 100 that indicates the patient’s risk of recurrence and likely chemotherapy benefit.  

Who is suitable?

Those suitable for the Oncotype DX test include women (and men) with early stage, oestrogen receptor positive, lymph-node negative breast cancer.

Am I covered?

All Irish Life Health members as of 30th November 2010 subject to applicable waiting periods, will be fully covered under their policy insurance at the eight designated cancer centres across Ireland as well as at the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork regardless of plan or level. All Oncotype Dx assays will be subject to preauthorisation by Irish Life Health but this will not delay the assessment process. Irish Life Health will process authorisation in approximately 48 hours upon receipt of request. Waiting periods apply to new Irish Life Health members after 30th November 2010.

How do I access the Oncotype DX TEST?

The test must be requested by the consultant oncologist treating the patient and is subject to preauthorisation by Irish Life Health. Irish Life Health members may avail of the Oncotype DX test at the eight designated Cancer Centres and associated Private Hospitals as well as Bon Secours Hospital, Cork including;

Hospitals with the Oncotype DX service:

  • Mater University
  • Mater Private
  • St Vincent’s Public
  • St Vincent’s Private
  • St James
  • Beaumont
  • Mid Western Regional (Limerick)
  • Waterford Regional
  • Cork University Hospital
  • University College Hospital Galway
  • Bon Secours Hospital, Cork

All existing Irish Life Health members are covered on all Irish Life Health insurance plans at all levels under in-patient benefits in these hospitals.

Is it effective?

The Oncotype DX breast cancer test is the only multigene expression test available that has clinical evidence validating its ability to predict the likelihood of chemotherapy benefit as well as recurrence in early-stage breast cancer. Additionally, the test report provides quantitative scores for certain individual genes.

The Oncotype DX breast cancer test has been extensively evaluated in thirteen clinical studies involving more than 4,000 breast cancer patients worldwide, including a large validation study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and a chemotherapy benefit study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. To date, more than 10,000 physicians in 55 countries have ordered more than 150,000 tests.