Journal Article
. 2011 Sep;7(3 Suppl).
doi: 10.1200/JOP.2011.000299.

Genomic testing and therapies for breast cancer in clinical practice

Jennifer S Haas 1 Kathryn A Phillips  Su-Ying Liang  Michael J Hassett  Carol Keohane  Elena B Elkin  Joanne Armstrong  Michele Toscano  
  • PMID: 21886507
  •     29 References
  •     7 citations


Purpose: Given the likely proliferation of targeted testing and treatment strategies for cancer, a better understanding of the utilization patterns of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) testing and trastuzumab and newer gene expression profiling (GEP) for risk stratification and chemotherapy decision making are important.

Study Design: Cross-sectional.

Methods: We performed a medical record review of women age 35 to 65 years diagnosed between 2006 and 2007 with invasive localized breast cancer, identified using claims from a large national health plan (N = 775).

Results: Almost all women received HER2 testing (96.9%), and 24.9% of women with an accepted indication received GEP. Unexplained socioeconomic differences in GEP use were apparent after adjusting for age and clinical characteristics; specifically, GEP use increased with income. For example, those in the lowest income category (< $40,000) were less likely than those with an income of $125,000 or more to receive GEP (odds ratio, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.73). A majority of women (57.7%) with HER2-positive disease received trastuzumab; among these women, differences in age and clinical characteristics were not apparent, although surprisingly, those in the lowest income category were more likely than those in the high-income category to receive trastuzumab (P = .02). Among women who did not have a positive HER2 test, 3.9% still received trastuzumab. Receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy increased as GEP score indicated greater risk of recurrence.

Conclusion: Identifying and eliminating unnecessary variation in the use of these expensive tests and treatments should be part of quality improvement and efficiency programs.

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