Phenogen Sciences, a subsidiary of Genetic Technologies, has introduced a non-invasive genetic risk assessment test for women with a higher-than-average chance of developing estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.

The BrevaGen, which the company claims is a first-ever scientifically-validated test, uses oral swab samples to examine and calculate a patient’s risk of breast cancer.

Risk is calculated by combining the patient’s relative risk score from seven genetic markers, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, with details of the patient’s clinical and reproductive history including current age, age at menarche, age at live first birth and ethnicity, according to the company.

The test also provides five-year and lifetime predictive risk assessments to evaluate the patient’s chances of developing sporadic breast cancer, regardless of family history.

A clinical trial of BrevaGen by the US Women’s Health Initiative, involving 3,300 women, showed that BrevaGen was superior in determining breast cancer risk, compared to the Gail risk score alone.

Breast Center of Austin spokesperson Dr Owen Winsett said knowledge of a woman’s personal risk of developing breast cancer enables doctors to develop personalised ‘breast health plans’ for patients.

"Breast health plans identify lifestyle changes that a patient can use to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer and provide them with motivation to follow a personalized surveillance / monitoring plan including an appropriate frequency of designated screenings such as mammograms, MRIs and ultrasounds," Winsett said.

"Detecting breast cancer early has a 95% survival rate; when detected at later stages survival is only 41%.

"By utilizing the BrevaGen breast cancer risk assessment test, 80% of women with little or no family history of breast cancer are able to identify their breast cancer risk and take appropriate action, thus increasing their chances for survival."

Image: The BrevaGen test provides five-year and lifetime predictive risk assessments to women with above-average risk of developing estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Photo: Courtesy of PR News Wire.