Decipher Biosciences review – Can Tumor Genetics Help Treat?

Decipher Biosciences Summary

Decipher Biosciences offers genetic testing for patients with prostate and bladder tumors. Learn more in our Decipher Biosciences review!

Fiyin Ebemidayo, B.S.



Decipher provides physicians and patients with a deeper understanding of the genetics of tumors and a guide to personalized treatment. The company helps patients work with insurance to get most or all of the tests covered.


7 Facts from our Decipher Biosciences Review

  1. Location: San Diego, CA, US
  2. Products: Genetic diagnoses for severe tumors such as prostate and bladder. Additionally, it offers researchers access to Grid, a genetic database compiled from its tumor testing
  3. Ordering: Customers order a test via their physicians, who will also receive the reports and interpret them
  4. Health consultations: The company only carries out diagnosis, and there is no direct access to meeting with a health specialist
  5. Data availability: Data is readily available, and patients can access their reports online once they receive a mail on its availability
  6. Costs: Prices are not publicly available. The company will work with you to submit a claim to your insurance company. Insurance covers most tests, or patients pay $395 or less
  7. Complementary products: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing that can be used in consultation with a medical professional)

This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.

December 14, 2023

Pros and Cons


  • Advanced testing for prostate and bladder cancer genetic diagnosis
  • Simplified testing report makes it easier for a better-customized treatment plan


  • Offer only prostate and bladder testing
  • Only a physician’s office can order the test
  • Test pricing and quotes are not available


Decipher Biosciences focuses on improving patients’ lives on their journey with prostate and bladder cancer. The firm is one of the few genetic testing companies offering urologic cancer diagnoses on these common cancers.

It should be noted that these precision oncology tests are performed on tumors that have already been developed and diagnosed. They analyze the cancer genomics of a particular tumor and improve patient care for those already known to have the condition. 

Decipher Biosciences homepage
Decipher Biosciences homepage

Decipher Biosciences was founded in 2008 as a landmark company whose major focus was to help bridge the gap for patients diagnosed with urologic cancers and the influence of their genetics as an underlying factor. The firm has grown into a major corporation, attracting interest from investors. Based in San Diego, CA, the firm has recorded significant success on different fronts, and this finally led to interest from Veracyte.

Veracyte, Inc., a global genetic testing firm with subsidiaries, acquired Decipher Biosciences on March 15, 2021 for $600 million in an effort to improve its financial results and expand the near-term addressable market.

The acquisition of Decipher Biosciences has allowed Veracyte to add prostate and bladder cancer genetic diagnoses to its rich list of other services. It was already a leader in tests for lung, thyroid, and breast cancers, as well as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and an expected diagnostic test for lymphoma.

The company’s jobs have shifted during this time. For example, Tina Nova Ph.D., left her position as Decipher Biosciences’ president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in February 2021 to become the general manager of urologic cancers at Veracyte. A number of shareholders control the company, with Kevin K. Gordon as its CEO since 2016.

The Science Behind Decipher Biosciences

Decipher Biosciences’ mission under its new leadership is to ensure that every patient with certain kinds of cancer gets access to accurate diagnoses based on their genetics. These diagnoses help patients and their doctors understand the underlying factors of the tumors, which can guide how they best treat and manage them. 

The firm has continued to grow and has expanded its science and reach as an advanced global tumor testing company with clinical utility:

Prostate cancer diagnoses

The company approaches its prostate cancer test with the understanding that each tumor is unique, and patients will need a thorough examination to be sure of how to manage their conditions with their doctor. The prostate cancer diagnosis aims to provide clarity and help patients get localized treatment decisions that best handle their condition.

Bladder cancer diagnoses

Decipher Diagnoses also offers Bladder cancer diagnosis services for men and women to help them better understand their condition. Decipher bladder is the only genomic subtyping tool available to physicians treating locally advanced bladder cancer patients in the United States.

Besides Decipher genomic testing, the company offers a service for research institutions called the Grid. This product is a proprietary artificial intelligence platform and database constructed from tumor tests. By offering it for genetic research studies, Decipher believes it can help develop new products and contribute to drug development and clinical trials. Through Grid, the firm takes contributions and professional testing from top institutions and has had over 100 medical institutions contribute to its research for better genetic tumor diagnoses.

Review of Decipher Biosciences Products

Decipher Biosciences offers three products:

Decipher prostate cancer diagnosis

Decipher’s cancer genomic testing reveals the underlying biology of prostate tumors to provide clarity and confidence in treatment planning for men with prostate cancer. The aim is to help professionals offer the best treatment for localized prostate cancer by combining genetic and clinical information. 

The company recommends this test for men with non-metastatic cancer who have not received pelvic radiation or ADT prior to biopsy or RP and have a life expectancy of 10 years or greater.

Seven cancer pathways analyzed with the Decipher genetic test for prostate cancer
Seven cancer pathways analyzed with the Decipher genetic test for prostate cancer

The test was developed from a large cohort of metastatic and non-metastatic prostate cancer patients treated at the Mayo Clinic. It uses 22 coding and non-coding biomarkers spanning seven cancer pathways to provide a more accurate, independent risk prediction.

The product also includes classifying the condition for better treatment. Decipher Prostate genomic classifier stratifies patients by risk of progression. Physicians use Decipher to help answer clinical questions, which include which patients with prostate cancer may be safe for less intensive treatment approaches and which may need additional or more intensive treatment.

The prostate test is available in two options based on the type of procedure the patient is undergoing:

After biopsy: This test helps determine if patients are suitable for active surveillance, if they need monotherapy, or if they may benefit from multi-modality or intensified therapy.

After surgery: This test helps determine treatment timing following radical prostatectomy and whether patients undergoing salvage radiotherapy may benefit from hormone therapy. Its goal is to prevent recurrent prostate cancer.

In 2020, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) began recommending Decipher Prostate for Men with adverse pathology after radical prostatectomy. To date, this is the only genomic test to achieve “Recommended” status for the management of prostate cancer patients.

Decipher bladder cancer diagnosis

Patients with T1 or muscle-invasive bladder cancer can benefit from Decipher Bladder. This product classifies bladder cancer tumors by molecular subtype. Physicians use this test to identify which patients are at the highest risk of undergoing radical cystectomy and most likely to benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC).

The company recommends this product for men and women considering NAC prior to surgery and is predictive of survival benefit from NAC by molecular subtyping.


Decipher GRID is a proprietary artificial intelligence platform and database for research purposes that generates genomic discoveries and catalyzes the development of new products to accelerate drug development and clinical trials. The firm collaborates with health institutions to discover new drugs and treatments for genetic-induced cancer and related ailments or conditions.

Taking a Decipher Biosciences Test Kit

It is important to note that Decipher Biosciences does not offer sample collections for users directly. To get a genetic diagnosis for their prostate or bladder tumor, users must meet with their physician to order the test kit on their behalf.

The doctor will use the website’s ‘Physician Portal’ menu to make the order. They do this by first downloading and completing the appropriate Test Requisition Form. The form selected will either be for a prostate or a bladder cancer genetic diagnosis. After this, the completed form, the pathology report, and insurance information will be faxed.

The test is performed on previously collected tumor tissue. Your physician and the corresponding clinic will prepare the sample after a biopsy or surgery and send it to the Decipher Biosciences lab for genetic analysis.  

Review of Decipher Biosciences Cost

The cost of these tests is not available online. However, the company does provide a comprehensive financial plan that describes how it works with insurance companies to cover tests for most patients. 

Once the test is ordered, a claim is submitted to your insurance company. In most cases, insurance covers the test, including Medicare and select private plans. If the test is not covered, Decipher Biosciences will submit an appeal on your behalf. 

If your balance exceeds $395 after the appeal, a Decipher representative will work with you to explore additional options, such as further engagement with the insurance company or applying for the financial assistance program, Decipher Assist. Qualification is based on your total household income. For those who qualify, total out-of-pocket costs can be $0, $100, or $295.

Review of Decipher Biosciences Reports

The Decipher Bioscience report is clinical and should be interpreted by a physician. Its goal is to help guide treatment for the long-term. Patients are then monitored based on the standard of care.

Prostate Biopsy

The prostate biopsy is in three sections. The first page provides the patient’s personalized Decipher score, which ranges from 0 to 1. This number indicates whether the genomic characteristics of the tumor indicate low, intermediate, or high risk.

Page 1 contains the Decipher score, risk estimates, and an interpretation of the score.

Page 1 of the prostate biopsy report from Decipher Biosciences
Page 1 of the prostate biopsy report

The second page contains case analysis, interpretation, clinical findings, and a QR code for more information.

The patient’s risk compared with similar genetic profiles from Decipher Biosciences
The patient’s risk compared with similar genetic profiles

The final section of the biopsy report includes a test description, intended use info, confidence intervals, and references.

Prostate Biopsy RP

This report is produced when the genetic test is performed on tumor tissue after radical prostatectomy surgery. 

Similar to the Prostate Biopsy test, the Prostate Biopsy PR test provides a Decipher score on a scale of 0 to 1, indicating whether the tumor’s genomic characteristics show low, intermediate, or high risk. The second section of the report includes case analysis, interpretation, clinical findings, and treatment graphics.

Risk graphics available with the Prostate Biopsy RP test from Decipher Biosciences
Risk graphics available with the Prostate Biopsy RP test

The final section of this report includes a test description, intended use info, confidence intervals, references, and a QR code.

Bladder Report

This report is a genomic subtyping tool that analyzes a patient’s bladder cancer for the presence of various subtypes. The reports include information on the risk of it being a particular subtype as well as the clinical interpretation.

Sample of a Decipher bladder report from Decipher Biosciences
Sample of a Decipher bladder report

Review of Decipher Biosciences Privacy

Since its establishment in 2008, Decipher Biosciences has generally followed its own privacy policy. However, with the acquisition agreement with the former stakeholders and Veracyte, the firm fully adopted the latter’s privacy policy in April 2021.

Veracyte has a strong reputation for protecting user privacy and ensuring unauthorized parties cannot access or view clients’ genetic and personal information. The firm has a very strict confidential policy and claims to fully account for all its clients’ information.

The Veracyte policy was last updated on October 24, 2021, stating that users’ information is only used for testing. When used for research, clients’ data is fully protected and handled by Decipher Biosciences personnel and labs. 

Other Decipher Biosciences Reviews

Since this is a clinical-based company where tests are only available through a doctor’s office, public product reviews are not available online.

Nebula Genomics

Decipher Biosciences is a major company focusing on genetic testing for prostate and bladder cancer that has helped patients better understand and manage their conditions. The company offers a portal for physicians and patients to receive specialized diagnoses depending on their needs. 

However, while Decipher Biosciences is a top tumor genetic testing firm, its services are limited to analyzing already diagnosed tumors. Also, it only offers tests for two major types of cancer: prostate and bladder. Genetic testing for certain cancer types can provide deep insight into the genetics of those tumors. This specialized testing means that some patients get to enjoy these advanced reports, but it also means that other potential customers will have to go elsewhere for other cancer types.

Nebula Genomics is not a clinical testing company and does not test tumor genetics. However, if you are concerned about your risk of developing cancer in the future, we offer the most comprehensive genetic testing for predispositions. Nebula Genomics provides 30x Whole Genome Sequencing, which sequences all 20,000 genes and 2 million bases in the human genome. This means that clients looking to get more than prostate and bladder genetic cancer testing can fully depend on Nebula Genomics for the best service. Nebula Genomics also offers great pricing for its test kits. Customers get access to every gene for $299 or less.

Nebula results are of the highest quality and can be used in consultation with a physician or genetic counselor. 

Decipher Biosciences vs. Nebula Genomics

Below is how Decipher Biosciences compares to Nebula Genomics.

Decipher BiosciencesNebula Genomics
DNA testing methodTumor testing 30x whole genome sequencing
Number of genes testedN/A20,000
Interpretation of resultsPhysicians get the reports on behalf of customersCustomers can interpret the results themselves
Ancestry reportingNoPerform deep ancestry reporting with the complete Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing
Data accessYesYes
CostNot available publicly$0, $99, $299

Did you like our Decipher Biosciences review? You can read more reviews on our blog and our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests. You may be particularly interested in Natera, Foundation Medicine, and Tempus Labs, other companies that use tumor genomics to help guide treatment.

Other companies

Several companies use DNA sequencing for diagnostics. Unlike Decipher Biosciences, these tests are designed to be conducted on healthy individuals to help assess whether they are at risk for certain conditions.


  • ActX (integrates genomics into physician workflow)
  • Ambry Genetics (risks of various disease types)
  • CENTOGENE (rare diseases and other conditions)
  • Fulgent Genetics (comprehensive diagnostic company)
  • GeneDx (wide variety of clinical genomic tests)
  • Oral DNA Labs (specialized diagnostic tool for oral health)
  • Parsley Health (holistic medicine and health plans)
  • Pathway Genomics (DNA tests for various health aspects, may be used in consultation with medical providers)

Includes carrier status:

  • Integrated Genetics (pre- and post-pregnancy tests)
  • Invitae (diagnostics, proactive health, and reproductive health)
  • Myriad Genetics (diagnostics, reproductive tests, and precision medicine tests)
  • Sema4 (oncology, women’s health, carrier screening, and hereditary cancer)
  • Veritas Genetics (disease risks and carrier screenings)

Mental health:

  • GeneSight (clinical genomic test for psychotropics)
  • Genomind (pharmacogenomic testing for mental health treatment)

Rare diseases:

  • Color (risks of cancer, genetic forms of heart disease, and medication responses)
  • Stripe2be (rare diseases)

About The Author