Friday, August 3, 2012

Lab-developed tests covered by TRICARE may help guide breast cancer treatment choices

FALLS CHURCH, Va.Some TRICARE beneficiaries will soon be able to take advantage of new technologies aimed at helping patients and health care providers make more informed decisions regarding treatment options for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for some types of cancer.

On May 22, two laboratory-developed tests were approved for coverage by TRICARE under a demonstration project: the BRAC Analysis BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests (Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc.), and the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Inc.).

BRACAnalysis testing assesses a woman's risk of developing hereditary breast or ovarian cancers based on detection of mutations in their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

The Oncotype DX breast cancer assay is a test that examines a breast cancer patient's tumor tissue at the molecular level; specifically, it is hoped that this information can help individualize the planning of the patient's breast cancer treatment. The complete description of this demonstration project is available at

The criteria for which of these tests will be covered by TRICARE are scheduled to be published in the TRICARE Operations Manual in August 2012. TRICARE providers will be prepared to accept patients under the demonstration project by Sept. 30; however, coverage for the approved use of these tests is retroactive to May 22. Beneficiaries should speak with their primary health care professional or their regional contractor to determine their eligibility for having these tests performed as a TRICARE benefit. Find regional contractor contact information at


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