Breast Cancer Risk Testing for Women of All Ancestries


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we are excited about the recent launch of a new approach to risk assessment for hereditary breast cancer. It’s not just a new way to look at risk; it’s a way to get more accurate results to every patient, regardless of ancestry.

In the past, our understanding of breast cancer has been clearest in people of European descent, because that’s where the cancer research community had the most data. Myriad Genetics has been working toward improvements that would give equally reliable results to all women.

That vision of a more equitable landscape for hereditary cancer genetic testing has finally been achieved. Recently, Myriad Genetics launched a new version of its market leading MyRiskTM Hereditary Cancer Test, now available with a personalized RiskScore® assessment designed to improve patient outcomes and help minimize healthcare disparities. RiskScore  results are informed by a combination of genetic markers, clinical factors, cancer family history, and ancestry-specific data. RiskScore is available at no additional cost to women who take the MyRisk test.

With traditional hereditary cancer tests, approximately 95% of women will test negative for high-risk gene mutations, but still have additional breast cancer risk factors that need to be managed. The RiskScore component of MyRisk helps women and their physicians assess those added risk factors. An estimated 56% of patients who undergo MyRisk testing and receive a RiskScore result will qualify for medical management changes such as increased cancer surveillance or intervention.

The RiskScore approach has been rigorously validated. The assessment incorporates data from more than 140 genetic variants identified through 20 years of genome-wide association studies in breast cancer and ancestral studies. It has also been clinically evaluated in a study of more than 275,000 women by scientists at leading academic institutions and cancer centers and presented at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

In recent years, we’ve been delivering a similar breast cancer risk assessment to only women of European ancestry who tested negative for gene mutations included in the MyRisk Hereditary Cancer Test. Women who took the MyRisk test since 2017 and were unable to benefit from RiskScore due to their ancestry, will now be offered the opportunity to have their risk assessment updated by Myriad Genetics free of charge. It’s all part of our commitment to high-quality genetic testing for everyone.