What’s the difference between Genomic and Genetic Testing?

“Genomic” and “genetic” are often used interchangeably in popular media and common speech. However, in breast cancer diagnostic testing, genomic and genetic testing have specific meanings.

Genomic testing focuses on your breast cancer and its treatment. Genetic testing looks at the likelihood of breast cancer occurring.

Genomic Testing of Breast Cancer

Genomic testing is done on the tumor tissue itself. It provides you and your doctor information on how your specific cancer is behaving: Is your breast cancer aggressive and needs aggressive treatment, or is it less aggressive and will it respond to a milder form of therapy?

Genetic Testing For Breast Cancer

In comparison, genetic testing is often used when speaking about hereditary disease. It is the presence of a defective gene that indicates your inherent risk for developing a disease. For instance, the presence of a defective BRCA gene is best known for 50% chance (1 in 2) of passing to the next generation an increased susceptibility for developing breast cancer.1

MammaPrint® Genomic Testing

MammaPrint is a genomic test for women with early-stage breast cancer that helps predict clinical outcomes. MammaPrint identifies patients who, in the presence of a high risk clinical assessment, are unlikely to benefit from chemotherapy, sparing them from suffering unnecessary side effects and toxicity. MammaPrint is the only FDA cleared breast cancer recurrence assay designed for woman of all ages.

[1] American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet