Breast cancer charity welcomes ‘major reversal’ over NHS use of genetic test

Health officials have reversed a decision over whether a genetic test for breast cancer patients should be used by the NHS.

The Oncotype DX test was provisionally rejected for use in January, despite having previously been recommended for certain women.

The test helps to predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence and whether or not someone would benefit from chemotherapy.

But in new draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said it would provisionally recommend the use of the three tumour profiling tests including Oncotype DX.

Charity Breast Cancer Now welcomed the decision, adding that the prognostic tools show “great potential” for patients.

The tests analyse the activity of genes in tumour samples among patients with certain types of breast cancer.

This helps determine the likelihood of cancer returning and inform decisions over whether a patient should undergo chemotherapy after surgery.

Nice previously said that “their cost effectiveness compared with current practice is highly uncertain”.

Baroness Delyth Morgan (pictured), chief executive of Breast Cancer Now, said: “This major reversal represents real progress for patients.

“Prognostic tests like these are showing great potential to personalise breast cancer treatment and enable some women to be safely spared the gruelling side-effects of chemotherapy.

“Having been provisionally rejected for NHS use in January, we’re delighted that, following major concerns expressed by patients, charities and healthcare professionals, three of these tests could now be made available to NHS patients and their doctors.

“Chemotherapy remains a cornerstone of breast cancer treatment, but with such difficult side-effects it is so important we avoid giving it to those who will not benefit from it.”

EndoPredict and Prosigna tests have also been provisionally recommended for use.

The proposals have been put to a public consultation which closes on May 11.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Breast Cancer Now.