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Karyotype (tumour)

Also known as: Chromosome studies, karyotype (oncology)

Test category:

Oncology - Solid tumour

Use of test


Chromosome analysis can detect abnormalities of chromosome structure or number in malignant cells. These abnormalities can have diagnostic and prognostic implications.


Chromosome analysis can be used to assist with diagnosis/subclassification, to follow clonal evolution, and to help determine prognosis.

Ethical considerations:

This is an assay for non-heritable mutations. It does not raise issues of ethics or consent that are different from most other investigations ordered in the routine care of a patient.


Analysis of metaphase chromosomes by light microscopy. Chromosomes are counted, and examined for structural abnormalities.

Requesting the test


This test is usually requested by an oncologist.

Sample required:

Fresh tumour tissue transported in bone marrow transport media (preferably) or in normal saline. The sample should be transported at room temperature and delivered promptly to the laboratory.

To help ensure the quality of the test, a genetic test should be done with a dedicated sample whenever possible i.e. a sample collected specifically for that test rather than a sample that is used for multiple tests.

We recommend that the patient or another adult check the labelling of request forms and sample containers.

Turnaround time:

18 business days.


This test has a Medicare rebate which, subject to the requirements of the Medicare descriptor being met, may cover all or part of the cost.


The Medicare details, including descriptor and schedule fee, are listed under MBS item 73287.

Click here for our billing policy.