GETTING TESTED

PATIENT SAMPLES

UNDERSTANDING THE AVAILABLE PROCEDURES

Genoptix routinely analyzes three main types of specimens: bone marrow, peripheral blood, and tissue.

BONE MARROW

What is bone marrow?

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue present within certain bones that contains stem cells and precursors that produce white and red blood cells and platelets. In adults, cell-producing marrow is found typically in the hips, but also in the backbones (vertebrae), shoulder bones, ribs, breastbone, and skull.

What is the procedure?

A bone marrow biopsy generally takes place in a physician’s office or hospital.  The selected area, usually the hip, is sterilized and anesthetized, and then a special needle is inserted into the marrow-containing bone. An instrument like a hollow tube is pushed into the bone and withdrawn to pull out a cylindrical piece of tissue (core biopsy). Some of the marrow and blood is also drawn up into a syringe (aspirate).

How is bone marrow tested?

Some of the liquid aspirate will be smeared onto slides, which can then be stained and examined under a microscope.  The aspirate can also be used for flow cytometry, cytogenetics, and molecular testing.  The core biopsy will be preserved in fixative and then embedded in wax so that very thin sections can be cut onto slides for staining and microscopic examination.

PERIPHERAL BLOOD

What is peripheral blood?

Peripheral blood is the blood circulating through the arteries and veins (not sequestered in the spleen, liver, bone marrow, etc.). It contains red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets.

What is the procedure?

Blood draws are usually simple procedures and may be done almost anywhere: in a laboratory, a physician’s office, a hospital, or even sometimes at home. A tourniquet will be placed above the site where the blood will be drawn (usually the inner elbow). The skin will be sterilized, and a needle will be inserted directly into a vein. Blood is then collected into vacuum-sealed tubes that contain preservative agents.

How is peripheral blood tested?

Some of the blood may be smeared onto slides, which can then be stained and examined under a microscope. Blood can also be used for flow cytometry, and sometimes cytogenetics. Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) can be extracted from the white blood cells for molecular testing.

SOLID TISSUE

What is solid tissue?

Solid tissue is any part of the body that is not suspended in liquid (i.e. almost everything besides blood and bone marrow).

What is the procedure?

Procedures for solid tissue collection vary widely, from small fine needle aspirations and core biopsies, to larger partial or even full organ removals. Depending on the complexity, the procedure may be done on an outpatient basis, or may require hospitalization.

How is solid tissue tested?

The tissue will be preserved in fixative and then embedded in wax so that very thin sections can be cut onto slides for staining and microscopic examination.  Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) can also be extracted for molecular testing.

HOW DO I GET A GENOPTIX TEST?

Here is a sampling of questions you might want to ask your healthcare provider.

CAN I REQUEST MY OWN LABORATORY TESTS?

You will need a healthcare provider to order Genoptix testing for you. If you think that Genoptix testing might be the right choice for you, speak with your physician or oncologist today.

I ALREADY HAD A BLOOD TEST. WHY DO I NEED A BONE MARROW TEST?

Blood is often used for initial screening because it is much simpler to obtain than bone marrow.

– If the blood examination does not uncover an adequate explanation for your symptoms, it may be useful to then check the bone marrow.  Blood normally contains mature cells, whereas bone marrow contains precursor cells, so it is better for evaluating the whole production process.

– If the initial blood examination does find an abnormality, it is sometimes necessary to also test the bone marrow in order to better define the extent of the disease.

ARE GENOPTIX TESTS COVERED BY INSURANCE?

Insurance companies define their coverage of testing services provided by laboratory providers such as Genoptix Medical Laboratory as being either “In-Network” or “Out-of-Network.”  While Genoptix does have contracts with certain insurance carriers, we are not contracted with all insurance providers in all states. However, to the maximum extent permitted by law, we will attempt to bill as an In-Network provider, regardless of our status with your insurance company.

We support all patients—with or without insurance—by offering interest-free payment plans, prompt pay discounts and patient financial assistance programs to all who qualify.

Contact your insurance provider or Genoptix Billing for more information.

WHERE IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?

A healthcare provider will obtain the blood or bone marrow sample either in your physician’s office or in a hospital.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SAMPLE?

Once your healthcare provider has taken your sample, Genoptix assigns it for same-day pickup by FedEx. Your healthcare provider packs your sample, and FedEx transports it to Genoptix. In some locations in the San Diego area, Genoptix provides Genoptix medical couriers to pick up samples from the healthcare provider’s location.

WHAT IS MOLECULAR TESTING? WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Molecular testing characterizes cancer in ways that may enable your healthcare provider to select the most appropriate therapy.

WHAT TYPES OF MOLECULAR AND OTHER SPECIALIZED TESTS DOES GENOPTIX PERFORM?

Genoptix uses the following types of technology:

  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC): Chemical-labeled antibodies bind to specific proteins or antigens present in or on cells and are visualized under a microscope.
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH): Fluorescent-labeled probes bind to specific regions of DNA and are visualized under a special microscope.
  • Flow cytometry: Fluorescent-labeled antibodies bind to specific proteins or antigens present in or on cells, and are scanned by lasers as they pass through a single-cell fluid stream.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): Millions of copies are made of specific regions of a gene and the DNA sequence is analyzed for changes (mutations).
  • Next-generation sequencing (NGS): The DNA sequences of a large number of genes are simultaneously analyzed for mutations.

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY TEST RESULTS?

Depending on the type of test being performed, many Genoptix tests are completed and reported to your ordering healthcare provider within as little as 24 hours after our lab receives your sample for testing. More in-depth testing can take several days to weeks. Your results are sent directly to your ordering healthcare professional, but you can request to have a copy sent to you by filling out an Authorization to Release Laboratory Test Results form. Be sure to discuss your questions or concerns with your doctor.

CAN I KEEP A COPY OF MY TESTS RESULTS?

Patients are always allowed access to their medical information, including laboratory test results. But, laws differ among U.S. states about the release of such information. In some states, you may request a copy of your lab test results directly from the laboratory, while in other states, the laboratory is only allowed to release the results to the health care provider who ordered the tests.

In all cases, your doctor should be able to give you a copy of the test results. Talk to the office of the health care provider who ordered the lab tests and explain that you would like to receive a copy of the results.

I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT MY BILL. WHO CAN I TALK TO?

You can reach the Genoptix billing department by phone, at 800.755.0802, or by email, at billing@genoptix.com. The billing department is open Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST.

TEST RESULTS

YOUR TEST RESULTS

Depending on the type of test being performed, many Genoptix tests are completed and reported to your ordering healthcare provider within as little as 24 hours after our lab receives your sample for testing. More in-depth testing can take several days to weeks. Your results are sent directly to your ordering healthcare professional, but you can request to have a copy sent to you by filling out an Authorization to Release Laboratory Test Results form. Be sure to discuss your questions or concerns with your doctor.

AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE LABORATORY TEST RESULTS

To obtain access to your laboratory test results, you must fill in and return to Genoptix Client Services, through fax or email, the Authorization to Release Laboratory Test Results form.

If you have any questions, please contact Client Services at  +1.800.755.1605.