Genomic assays measuring the expression of multiple genes have made their way into clinical practice and their utilization is now recommended by major international guidelines. A basic property of these tests is their capability to sub-divide patients into high- and low-risk cohorts thereby providing prognostic, and in certain settings, predictive decision support. Here, we summarize commercially available assays for breast cancer including RT-PCR and gene chip-based tests. Given the relative uncertainty in cancer treatment, multigene tests have the potential for a significant cost reduction as they can pinpoint those patients for whom chemotherapy proves to be unnecessary. However, concordance of risk assessment for an individual patient is still far from optimal. Additionally, emerging multigene approaches focus on predicting therapy response, which is a black spot of current tests. Promising techniques include the homologous recombination deficiency score, utilization of massive parallel sequencing to identify driver genes, employment of internet-based meta-analysis tools and investigation of miRNA expression signatures. Combination of multiple simultaneous analyses at diagnosis, including classical histopathological diagnostics, monogenic markers, genomic signatures and clinical parameters will most likely bring maximal benefit for patients. As the main driving force behind such genomic tests is the power to achieve cost reduction due to avoiding unnecessary systemic treatment, the future is most likely to hold a further proliferation of such assays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Pharmacology (medical)