Genomic Health’s Colon Cancer Test Goes Worldwide

stomachacheGenomic Health, a developer of genomics-based diagnostic tests, announced on Thursday the worldwide availability of its Oncotype DX colon cancer test. Oncotype DX is the first multigene expression test designed to assess the risk of recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer.  The test may help physicians determine the best course of treatment, allowing them to recommend more aggressive therapy for patients with a higher recurrence risk.  

The 12-gene Oncotype DX colon cancer test is meant for patients who have already undergone surgery for stage II colon cancer.  In the QUASAR study, the results of which were announced in May, the test was found to independently predict the recurrence risk following surgery. New data to be presented on Jan. 24 at the ASCO GastronIntestinal Cancers Symposium in Orlando, FL, also suggests that Oncotype DX may be useful for patients with stage III colon cancer (although further study is required).

California-based Genomic Health already markets Oncotype DX to assess the risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients. Over  7,500 doctors have ordered the breast cancer test for more than 65,000 patients.

Considering recent developments, genomic testing could become a less invasive alternative to traditional colon cancer screening methods–a relief to patients who have had to undergo the discomfort and inconvenience of a colonoscopy. In June, researchers in the U.S., the Netherlands and Belgium found a genetic biomarker that correctly detected the presence of colorectal cancer more than half the time.

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