Glossary 2016-10-19T20:47:55+00:00

Agendia Breast Cancer Test Suite:  This is a panel of two genomic tests (MammaPrint + BluePrint) and when combined, look at 150-Genes to help physicians and their patients understand the true biology behind what is driving a tumors behavior.  These tests are offered by Agendia, Inc.

BluePrint 80-Gene Molecular Subtyping Assay is part of the Agendia Breast Cancer Test Suite panel and analyzes 80 different genes to classify your tumor into its own unique molecular subtype. Different subtypes respond differently to different categories of drugs and have different long-term prognostic implications.

Breast cancer diagnosis: The disease may be initially detected in different ways, such as by feeling a lump that turns out to be cancerous; or through a screening mammogram. Potentially cancerous areas are then often imaged through MRI, ultrasound or other techniques. The actual diagnosis is typically made following a biopsy extraction of tissue, which is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to see if cancer is present.

Breast cancer treatment: Breast cancer is treated in a variety of ways. Usually a doctor will perform surgery: either breast-conserving treatment followed by radiation therapy, or mastectomy that may be followed by surgical reconstruction. After surgery, you and your oncologist will decide which form of medical treatment best fits your tumor: hormone therapy and/or chemotherapy, and/or targeted therapy (e.g. Herceptin®).

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy can be an effective treatment for properly selected patients. It works by focusing on cells that divide rapidly, like cancer cells. Side effects may include hair loss, nausea, mouth sores, nerve damage and other problems. These side effects can continue for weeks or even months after the end of the treatment. Some complications of chemotherapy may be permanent and life-threatening.

Endocrine therapy: see hormone therapy.

ER, PR, and HER2 (Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor, Human Epidermal Growth Factor 2 level: Your ER and PR levels are used to determine if your cancer will be receptive to hormone therapy. HER2/neu status helps determine if a targeted therapy, such as Herceptin®, will be of benefit to you.

FDA-cleared is a term indicating the U.S. government has carefully examined the science behind the test and has validated its use for humans.

Gene: A gene is made of DNA that instructs your cells what to do. You can think of a gene as a kind of written directions for your cells.

Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used to create biochemical material. These proteins direct the behavior of your cells.

Genome: Your genome is the full list of all of your genes.

Genomic profile: Information about the genes’ expression and the way they interact with each other; in other words, how they behave.

Genomic testing: A genomic test uses tissue from the tumor and looks at the activity of groups of genes within the tumor, to provide a more comprehensive view of your specific cancer.

Hormone therapy is typically used with breast cancers that are “estrogen-receptor positive” (ER+) and/or “progesterone receptor positive (PR+). Some tumors need estrogen and/or progesterone to keep growing. Hormone therapy either stops your body from making those, or blocks the receptors so the cancer doesn’t know the hormones are present.

Low/high risk of recurrence: If your tumor is “low-risk,” that means it is unlikely to come back after standard treatment. A “high-risk” tumor may require more extensive treatment such as chemotherapy.

MammaPrint 70-Gene Breast Cancer Recurrence Assay is part of the Agendia Breast Cancer Test Suite panel. It classifies breast cancer as having either a definitive Low Risk or a High Risk of recurrence. It examines 70 genes that have been proven to the strongest association with breast cancer, and is the only test of its kind that will give you a definitive result.  MammaPrint is the only FDA 510(k) cleared test for women of all ages.

Markers: These can include proteins that are often used as indicators of gene expression, or other types of substances that have a known link to a cancer.

Molecular subtype: Current research categorizes most breast cancers into one of four such subtypes. Genomic testing with Symphony determines the subtype of each tumor. The subtypes are defined by their active biological pathway that help determine the best course of treatment. As research continues, more subtypes will be discovered; making personalized treatment even more important.

Personalized medicine: The relatively new practice of using information specific to you (such as your genomic profile) to personalize medical care and make it more precise, individualized and effective. It is also referred to as Precision Medicine.

Recurrence risk: The likelihood (high or low) that your cancer will come back. Knowing this helps you and your doctor figure out how aggressive your treatment needs to be.

Targeted therapies are generally less likely than chemotherapy to harm normal, healthy cells because they target only the tumor cells.