Oncotype DX: New Genetic Test For Prostate Cancer


A new genetic test has recently become available called Oncotype DX. The test is made by Genomic Health and will now be available at Dr. Samadi's Prostate Cancer Center in New York City. What is Oncotype DX? The Oncotype DX prostate cancer test is a biopsy-based genetic test that can be combined with other measures to predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. The test applies advanced genomic science to reveal the unique biology of a tumor in order to optimize cancer treatment decisions for each individual patient.

The Oncotype DX prostate cancer test works by analyzing the genes in your tumor and predicting the aggressiveness and biological makeup of your prostate cancer. This is an advantage because neither of these things can be done otherwise without a pathological analysis of the prostate tissue which can only be done when the prostate is actually removed surgically. The Oncotype DX test allows for this analysis without having to remove the prostate.

The test is a multi-gene RT-PCR expression analysis developed to work in combination with prostate needle biopsies. It measures the expression of 12 cancer-related genes representing four biological pathways and 5 reference genes, which are then combined to calculate the Genomic Prostate Score (GPX). This biopsy-based score has been clinically validated as a predictor of aggressive prostate cancer.

The Oncotype DX test examines certain genes in a sample of your tumor taken which is collected during a prostate biopsy. This allows the urologist to understand how those genes are interacting with one another and functioning. Determining the activity of the genes and how they influence and regulate the behavior of the prostate tumor allows for a deeper understanding in regards to how likely it is that your prostate cancer will grow and spread. The information that Oncotype DX provides for prostate cancer patients can help by allowing the patient and their doctor to determine the most optimal treatment plan specifically for that patient and their cancer. 

For men with an elevated PSA, high-risk for prostate cancer or who've had a previous biopsy, Oncotype DX may be the next step in assessing the potential growth rate of the tumor or how aggressive the cancer currently is. This directly leads to which treatment option is right for the patient. This genetic test gives us the ability to treat each patient individually.

Three studies presented at the 110th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association this year showed this test improved patient risk assessment for high and low-risk prostate cancers and even reduced cost of overall prostate cancer care. The Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score (GPS) has also shown promise in helping to further examine the biology and development of prostate cancer in African American men who are at a high risk for the disease.