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We respond to the Scottish Health Technologies Group’s recommendation on tumour profiling tests for certain patients with primary breast cancer

Melanie Sturtevant, associate director of policy, evidence and influencing, at Breast Cancer Now, said: 

“Today’s important recommendation brings hope that eligible primary breast cancer patients across the country will now have access to vital tumour profiling tests. Crucially these tests help determine which patients can be safely spared chemotherapy and its potentially devastating side effects.[1] However, it’s hugely disappointing that we know a larger group of patients do not stand to benefit.[2]  

“While chemotherapy is an important part of breast cancer treatment that for many patients helps reduce the risk of their cancer returning, for some it may not offer any additional benefit. Tumour profiling tests can help patients and their doctors, to identify the risk of their cancer returning and whether chemotherapy is the best treatment for them. 

“NHS Scotland must now implement this recommendation, with the Scottish Cancer Network and Health Boards supported to ensure widespread access to tumour profiling tests. It's also vital the Scottish Health Technologies Group revisit its recommendations as further research and guidance into tumour profiling tests emerges, to potentially see more patients benefitting from access to these vital tests.  

“Anyone looking for information and support can speak to our expert nurses by calling our free helpline on 0808 800 6000.” 


Notes to editors 

[1] The SHTG have recommended the use of tumour profiling if the patient has an intermediate risk of distant recurrence using a validated tool, such as PREDICT or the Nottingham Prognostic Index, and is also ER positive, HER2 negative and node negative (LN-).  

For pre-menopausal patients the SHTG has recommended that Oncotype DX is used. For post-menopausal women Oncotype DX, EndoPredict, MammaPrint and Prosigna are recommended by the SHTG.  

[2] Tumour profiling tests have not been recommended by the SHTG for routine use in patients with ER positive HER2 negative node positive (LN+) breast cancer. 


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