About the MammaPrint ® (70 gene signature) test for early breast cancer


This web page provides information for patients and health professionals about the Medical Services Advisory Committee* (MSAC) conclusion in relation to public funding of the MammaPrint® (70 gene signature) test.

In Australia survival for patients with breast cancer is among the highest in the world, with greater than 95% of patients with early breast cancer surviving at least five years from diagnosis.1

Best practice management of early breast cancer, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and targeted therapies, is guided by multidisciplinary treatment planning and evidence-based best practice care.

The decision to use chemotherapy in early breast cancer after local treatments (surgery and radiotherapy) is determined by considering both patient (clinical) and tumour (pathology) characteristics, which are often used in algorithms to guide treatment decisions.

Gene profile tests are an emerging technology for describing the pattern or grouping of genes in particular breast cancer cells. These tests are intended as an add-on to the clinical and pathology information as a way of further assessing risk of breast cancer recurrence and guiding therapy.

MammaPrint® is a gene profile test (a genomic test of breast cancer tumour cells). It examines 70 different genes to look for changes associated with a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence after treatment. The aim of the MammaPrint® test is to help inform decisions about whether to use chemotherapy after local treatment for early breast cancer.

In March 2018, the Medical Services Advisory Committee* (MSAC) considered an application seeking public funding of the MammaPrint® test, to be used in patients with early breast cancer assessed as being at high clinical risk of cancer recurrence, to guide their decision about the use of additional (adjuvant) chemotherapy.

After considering safety, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, MSAC did not support public funding for the MammaPrint® test.

While international guidance varies, the MSAC conclusion is in line with the 2018 NICE (UK) Guidelines and the 2018 recommendation of the national funding body of the Netherlands (where the MammaPrint® test was developed).

* MSAC is an independent expert committee established by the Australian Government to advise the Minister for Health on evidence relating to the comparative safety, clinical effectiveness and value for money of medical technologies and procedures.


  1. Cancer Australia. https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer/statistics. Accessed March 2019.