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Myriad Genetics Review: Can Genetic Testing Uncover Your Cancer Risks?

Written by Samantha Odake, BS (Mechanical Engineering) | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: Diagnostic and reproductive tests, precision medicine.
  2. Cost: Prices vary according to insurance coverage.
  3. Reports: Women’s health, hereditary cancer, and precision medicine.
  4. Raw data access: Unclear.
  5. Privacy: Myriad Genetics claims not to rent or sell personal information.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode is a direct-to-consumer DNA test that delivers personalized health recommendations.

Pros

  • Tests may be covered by insurance, which may decrease out-of-pocket costs.
  • Offers a wide variety of genetic testing.
  • Patients can collect DNA samples at their healthcare provider’s office or at home.

Cons

  • No raw data upload.
  • The company does not openly display test prices on their website.
  • Patients can only access Myriad’s test through healthcare professionals.

About Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics is a molecular diagnostics company founded by geneticist Mark Skolnick, chemical engineer Peter D. Meldrum, and biochemist and Nobel laureate Walter Gilbert. Established in 1991, they are one of the first genomic companies in history.

Myriad scientists participated in many discoveries in the field of genetics, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The company developed the first molecular diagnostic test for breast cancer in 1996.

The company is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2012, they opened a laboratory in Munich, Germany, and are currently present in 128 countries. They claim to have tested over 2 million people for hereditary cancer.

Review of Myriad Genetics Products & Features

Myriad Genetics offers a variety of diagnostic and women’s health tests. Patients must contact their healthcare provider before ordering a test, as they are not available directly to the customer.

To help patients decide whether hereditary cancer testing is right for them, the company offers a hereditary cancer quiz on their website. This quiz assesses whether the person is a good candidate for testing and help them find the information necessary to further discuss the topic with their provider.

Sample collection can be done at the practitioner’s office or at home. Regardless, in both cases, patients are required to have a signed test requisition form from a genetic counselor or physician.

The results are available as soon as two weeks after the sample is received by Myriad’s laboratory, and the healthcare provider contacts the patient to let them know of their results.

Myriad’s EndoPredict test provides patients with relevant information to help them make the right treatment choices for their case of breast cancer. Foresight determines if one carries inherited genetic conditions that may be passed on to their child.

Genesight is a pharmacogenomics test that analyzes how genes may affect how the body reacts to certain medications. You can read more about Genesight here.

Myriad Genetics also offers the myPath test that analyzes the expression of 23 genes related to the development of melanoma. COLARIS exposes a person’s risk of developing hereditary colorectal cancer and a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer. BRACAnalysis tests for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer by detecting the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations.

The multi-gene panel myRisk determines genetic risks associated with 8 types of cancers, including breast and colorectal cancer. Women can choose to receive the riskScore report containing a more comprehensive risk assessment. The riskScore incorporates personal and family history with myRish test results.

Myriad’s prenatal screening test Prequel can be performed as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is a noninvasive test that informs on the baby’s chances of having a chromosomal abnormality that can result in conditions such as Down Syndrome.

The company also has two precision medicine tests: BRACAnalysis CDx and myChoice CDx. These tests help identify patients who may be eligible for treatment with selected targeted therapies.

Prolaris is Myriad Genetics’ test aimed at helping practitioners in predicting prostate cancer aggressiveness in conjunction with clinical parameters.

Finally, Vectra is a rheumatoid arthritis blood test offered by Myriad that can measure inflammation caused by the disease. It measures 12 protein biomarkers related to rheumatoid arthritis and provides a score to assess and track its activity.

Review of Myriad Genetics Reports

The myRisk hereditary cancer report will be reviewed in this section. As can be seen from the sample report below, Myriad offers a summary of the results, which can be positive, elevated, negative, or variant of uncertain significance (not currently known to be associated with an increased risk of cancer).

Myriad Genetics myRisk summary

For the example above, the person has a clinically significant mutation identified. Myriad explains that this means that one or more genes passed down to the patient is altered or carries a genetic mutation. This increases their risk of developing one or more hereditary cancer.

The report provides a detailed explanation of the gene and mutations detected. If the test identifies a variant of uncertain significance, Myriad states they will contact the patient’s provider with any new information regarding the variation.

If the patient chooses to do so, they can include the riskScore results in the myRisk report. As shown below, this analysis presents users with their remaining lifetime risk for breast cancer and their risk for the next five years.

Myriad Genetics riskScore results

If an increased risk is identified, an orange asterisk is displayed next to the results. The company further explains what this score means and how it is calculated. The report also includes the patient’s self-reported clinical and cancer family history information in the report.

The myRisk test results include the myRisk Management Tool, seen below. Here, patients can find a table containing the types of cancer associated with their gene mutations. This table can be displayed in red or orange depending on the risk level.

myRisk Management Tool

Finally, Myriad offers management recommendations for the patient and their healthcare provider to consider based on the family history and test results. These include suggestions for further screening, medications, and surgery options, as seen below.

The recommendations are categorized by cancer risk. The report includes relevant information such as the appropriate age for each suggestion and frequency of testing.

Myriad Genetics recommendations

Cost of Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics does not provide test prices on their website. The company states that 97% of private insurance companies have coverage for their testing. They offer an interest-free 25-month payment when co-insurance, deductible, or uncovered services cost more than $375.

The company offers free testing to uninsured patients in the US who meet specific financial and medical criteria.

Health Recommendations from Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics provides patients with management recommendations for them to discuss with their healthcare provider. They offer suggestions about the frequency of testing, further tests the patient may need, and medications to reduce their genetic risks.

The company may recommend that patients discuss surgical options with their practitioners. Despite not offering lifestyle recommendations directly to the consumer, Myriad states that patients may discuss lifestyle changes with their provider.

Review of Myriad Genetics Privacy & Data Security

Myriad Genetics claims not to rent or sell personal data to third parties. They may disclose it in certain circumstances, such as with third parties who perform services on their behalf or if required by law.

The company may use or disclose protected health information (PHI) for treatment, payment, research, or healthcare operation purposes and others permitted or required by law. For example, they may disclose PHI to obtain payment from health plans or other entities for services provided. Patients have the right to access and receive a copy of their protected health information.

Myriad employs technical, organizational, and administrative security measures to safeguard personal information from loss, misuse, and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction.

The company does not make any open statement regarding raw data access. In 2016, they entered into a dispute with patients who challenged Myriad for access to their genetic data.

SelfDecode vs Myriad Genetics

  1. SelfDecode delivers natural supplements, diet, and lifestyle suggestions based on your genes that you can implement right away. Myriad Genetics offers recommendations for patients to manage their genetic risks.
  2. SelfDecode tells you why they make each recommendation so that you can understand the science behind the suggestion. Myriad Genetics explains which genes are associated with their suggestions.
  3. SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations based on their analysis of all the relevant genes instead of one gene at a time (through reports). Myriad Genetics uses a color-coded system to display genetic risks.
  4. SelfDecode takes a holistic approach to give recommendations that are best for your genes AND the health topic. Myriad Genetics offers targeted panels that look into specific genetic risks.
  5. SelfDecode has the world’s first and only personalized genetics blog that allows you to get new gene-based recommendations daily. Myriad Genetics does not have a health blog.
  6. SelfDecode is the most comprehensive and looks at more genes & SNPs (over 150,000) to deliver the best analysis of genetic risks. Myriad Genetics analyzes genes and gene mutations associated with specific conditions.
  7. SelfDecode supports everything with peer-reviewed scientific studies in their research and checks for contradicting information. Myriad Genetics provides scientific references in their reports.
  8. SelfDecode never sells your data or gives it away. Myriad Genetics claims not to sell or rent personal information to third parties.

Comparisons

SelfDecode

Myriad GeneticsPrevention GeneticsIntegrated Genetics
Personalized & holistic health recommendationsYesNoNo

No

Personalized blog posts

YesNoNoNo
ProductsDNA testing, wellness reports, health recommendations, patient and provider optionsMolecular diagnostic tests, women’s health and hereditary cancer reports, pharmacogenomicsWGS, WES, disease reports, DNA bank

Clinical genetic testing, disease reports, genetic counseling

Raw data access

YesUnclearYesYes
Cost (USD)$97 – $389Not disclosed$169 – $4,890

Not disclosed

Myriad Genetics Reviews

16 people rated the company an average of 1.5 of 5 stars on Yelp. Patients complain about delayed results. They say that there is miscommunication from the company regarding prices and that they were charged more than initially quoted. The one positive reviewer comments that they received their results in a reasonable amount of time.

Nebula Genomics scores Myriad 3.7 of 5 stars. They praise the company for their 25+ years of experience in the field of genetic testing and appreciate that they offer genetic counseling to patients. However, the reviewer says that they are priced more expensively than other companies and are not transparent about the costs associated with the tests.

In 2013, Myriad attempted to patent the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which was rejected by the US Supreme court.

Alternatives to Myriad Genetics

SelfDecode: The best direct-to-consumer DNA test that delivers personalized health recommendations through detailed reports and a genetics blog.

Myriad Genetics Review Summary

Myriad Genetics offers a variety of genetic testing that ranges from prenatal screening to pharmacogenomics tests. They provide practitioners with a valuable tool to diagnose genetic disorders in their patients.

As a clinical genetics company, their tests are often covered by insurance. While the company claims that most patients have little to no out-of-pocket expenses, many customers complain that they were charged more than initially quoted by Myriad.

In addition to the possible unexpected cost, patients must go through their healthcare provider to get access to the test, as they are not available directly to the consumer. This can prove to be an obstacle to those who wish to take control of their health.

An alternative such as SelfDecode delivers personalized, DNA-based recommendations on over 25 health topics without the need to contact a doctor. For healthcare providers, SelfDecode has a Professional Plan with unlimited DNA Wellness Report downloads and exclusive prices for DNA kits.

About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

BS (Mechanical Engineering)
Samantha is an engineer turned writer with a passion for helping people.

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