Post-Conference Perspectives: Breast Cancer Recurrence Score - Episode 3

Economic Impact of Oncotype DX on Breast Cancer Management


Joseph A. Sparano, MD: There was an abstract reported by Dr. Ferrer from Spain on a relatively small cohort, about 110 patients, that evaluated the economic impact of the 21-gene recurrence score in patients with early breast cancer as it relates to the use of chemotherapy. And what they found was that there was a favorable economic impact, where although there is a cost in doing the test that can be substantial when you apply it at a population level, there are cost savings incurred from that strategy by reducing the amount of chemotherapy that you use in that population. Now, this is by no means the first study that’s evaluated this. There have been other studies that have looked at this. Some suggested there may be some cost savings, others suggested not. What’s key is that there are assumptions that you use, and they really drive whether or not the final conclusion will be in one direction or another.

Now we have the data from TAILORx, and we have real-world data and real information with a level of precision that we never had before regarding the benefit or absence of benefit of chemotherapy. And now we know that it’s really only a minority of patients who benefit from chemotherapy; those who have a recurrence score of 26 or higher. New analyses are ongoing that are using these data, and it remains to be seen what the final conclusions would be. But I think if you do the math and look at what the cost of chemotherapy is in your healthcare system, you can spare the use of chemotherapy in 85% of patients who would otherwise be recommended to receive chemotherapy. The math is likely to come out suggesting that there will be cost savings. But we will see more in the future about this topic, which is a very important topic.

Transcript Edited for Clarity