This information collection is a core HTA, i.e. an extensive analysis of one or more health technologies using all nine domains of the HTA Core Model. The core HTA is intended to be used as an information base for local (e.g. national or regional) HTAs.

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Prognostic tests for breast cancer recurrence (uPA/PAI-1 [FEMTELLE], MammaPrint, Oncotype DX )

UPA/PAI-1 (FEMTELLE), MammaPrint, Oncotype DX compared to Standard of care in selecting treatment for Breast cancer recurrence in females

(See detailed scope below)

HTA Core Model Application for Diagnostic Technologies (1.1)
Core HTA
Tom Jefferson (age.na.s, Italy), Nicola Vicari (age.na.s, Italy), Heike Raatz (SNHTA, Switzerland)
Sarah Baggaley, NICE (Health problem and current use); Antonio Migliore, Agenas (Description and technical characteristics); Iris Pasternack, THL-FINOHTA (Safety); Mirjana Huic, AAZ (Clinical effectiveness), Isaura Vieira, INFARMED (Costs and economic evaluation); Dario Sacchini, A.Gemelli (Ethical analysis); Jennifer Butt, NICE (Organisational aspects); Marco Marchetti, A.Gemelli (Social and Legal aspects)
Agenzia nationale per i servizi sanitari regionali (age.na.s), Italy
A. Gemelli (Italy), AAZ (Croatia), Agenas (Italy), AHTAPol (Poland), AVALIA-t (Spain), INFARMED (Portugal), IPH-RS (Slovenia), NICE (United Kingdom), Regione Veneto (Italy), SNHTA (Switzerland), THL (Finland), UMIT (Austria)
13.6.2011 14.00.00
31.1.2013 18.05.00
Jefferson T, Vicari N, Raatz H [eds.]. Prognostic tests for breast cancer recurrence (uPA/PAI-1 [FEMTELLE], MammaPrint, Oncotype DX ) [Core HTA], Agenzia nationale per i servizi sanitari regionali (age.na.s), Italy ; 2013. [cited 24 October 2021]. Available from: http://corehta.info/ViewCover.aspx?id=113


TechnologyuPA/PAI-1 (FEMTELLE), MammaPrint, Oncotype DX

Urokinase plasminogen activator /plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 ELISA (uPA/PAI-1) is a registered enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) kit (FEMTELLE) for the analysis of uPA/PAI-1 in fresh frozen tissue and is being provided by American Diagnostica Inc. It is CE marked in Europe but for research use only in the USA. Other commercial ELISA kits for separate in-house analysis of uPA and/or PAI-1 are available from different suppliers. These also use samples other than tissue and are also used for indications other than cancer {1}.

Technical details:

- Inspection of unfixed tissue

- Removal of a representative piece of tumour tissue (>50 mg)

- Freezing of the unfixed tissue (-20°C or colder)

- Storage of the frozen tissue (-20°C or colder) possible up to 3 weeks

Clinical Laboratory (Pathology, Hospital)

- Transport of frozen tumour tissue on dry ice

- Extraction of uPA and PAI-1


- Transfer of test results to physician

Costs for FEMTELLE including preparation, shipping and analysis of samples in a qualified laboratory amount to €400 (http://www.hkk.de/info/aktuelles/brustkrebs_tumorprognosetest). In house analysis with separate ELISA kits costs about €200.

Possible logistic issues to consider are {2}:

- Relatively large samples are needed. Given that the mean tumour size is <2 cm in many centres, this means that a substantial part of the tissue may be lacking for light microscopic investigation.

- Many centres no longer routinely freeze breast tissue and therefore lack the expensive equipment for this process.

Oncotype DX (Genomic Health) quantifies gene expression for 21 genes in breast cancer tissue by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

MammaPrint (Agendia) is a gene expression profiling platform based on microarray technology which uses a 70-gene expression profile {3}. The sample studied is fresh or frozen tissue. It has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA (premarket notification for medical devices), which also covers the use of Asuragen's RNARetain®, a room temperature, molecular fixative that supersedes freezing the tissue before shipment to the central US laboratory (www.agendia.com).

The test requires a fresh sample of tissue  composed of a minimum of 30% malignant cells and must be received by the company in their kit within 5 days of obtaining the material. The MammaPrint assay was developed on the basis of research initially conducted at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam) and collaborating institutions. Primary tumours from 117 patients with axillary lymph node-negative primary breast cancer were analysed on oligonucleotide microarrays. The data were subjected to supervised classification to establish a 70-gene RNA expression profile that correlated with a relatively short interval to distant metastases. [from NICE protocol and ASCO guideline]

Oncotype DX and MammaPrint have been evaluated and large-scale studies (TAILORx and MINDACT) are underway. The German Working Group for Gynecological Oncology1 (AGO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have recommended uPA/PAI-1 as risk-group-classification markers for routine clinical decision making in node-negative breast cancer, alongside established clinical and histomorphological factors.

Oncotype DX is recommended for node negative, oestrogen receptor-positive women and MammaPrint is applied in all early breast cancers. The tests are expensive: MammaPrint costs €2675 and Oncotype DX, US $3400.

RT-PCR and microarray analysis usually cost US $3500 or more. Oncotype and MammaPrint are not routinely covered by German statutory health insurance. MammaPrint is covered by Medicare and Medicaid in the USA (Pharmacogenomics Reporter: 23 December 2009; www.genomeweb.com.)

MeSH Terms:

There are no MeSH-Terms for Oncotype DX and MammaPrint.

Intended use of the technologyDefining an existing health condition in further detail to assist selection of appropriate or optimal treatment

Assessment of risk of breast cancer recurrence

Target condition
Breast cancer recurrence
Target condition description

Assessment of risk of breast cancer recurrence and likelihood of benefit from adjuvant treatment (particularly chemotherapy).

As testing for oestrogen receptor positivity is already considered to be part of the standard of care using these tests to decide on adjunctive treatment with Tamoxifen will not be considered part of the study question.

Target population

Target population sex: Female. Target population age: Any age except fetuses. Target population group: Patients who have the target condition.

Target population description

Women with invasive breast cancer in whom adjunctive treatment might be indicated

ComparisonStandard of care

Standard care without any of the three index tests (uPA/PAI-1, MammaPrint, Oncotype DX).

Depending on manpower and time resources the three index tests may also be compared with each other.