Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Colvera™?

    Colvera is a blood test that helps healthcare providers detect colorectal cancer (CRC) recurrence. With Colvera it may be possible to identify CRC recurrence  in advance of symptoms, and possibly before other tests indicate recurrence.

  • How does Colvera work?

    Colvera is a qualitative test designed to help detect colorectal cancer (CRC) recurrence by indicating the presence or absence of altered DNA in the blood called “circulating tumor DNA” or ctDNA.  Colvera detects two altered DNA genes, BCAT1 and IKZF1, which are often associated with CRC. Colvera measures methylation, a chemical change associated with cancer development, in circulating tumor DNA.

    Unlike DNA mutations, which are frequent in cancer, but may vary widely between patients and may undergo mutation shifts during the course of disease, methylation is a more persistent feature in tumors that is readily measured. Colvera is not intended to stratify the risk of recurrence in colorectal cancer patients, but rather to measure circulating tumor DNA at the time testing. While Colvera detects changes found in most recurrent tumors, Colvera may not be positive in all patients. Colvera does not identify DNA changes that may have been inherited from parents or passed on to children.

  • What is the difference between Colvera and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)?

    Colvera is designed to help detect recurrence by measuring fragments of genetic material that leak from a tumor into the blood stream. During cancer growth and spreading, tumors may release small amounts of altered DNA in the blood stream.  This is called  “circulating tumor DNA” or ctDNA. Colvera is designed to help detect CRC recurrence by identifying circulating tumor DNA fragments in blood that are often associated with colorectal cancer.  Colvera is a clinically validated blood test that detects the presence in ctDNA of two altered genes (BCAT1 and IKZF1) associated with colorectal tumor growth.

    CEA immunoassays measure the amount of a protein that may appear in the blood of a CRC patient. Although CEA has been used for over three decades to monitor patients for cancer relapse and spreading, the test may yield false positive results that can be caused by smoking and other non-cancer conditions.

    Head-to-head clinical evaluation in a recently published study showed that Colvera detected twice as many recurrent colorectal cancers as CEA.

  • Can Colvera be used as a screening test for colorectal cancer (CRC)?

    Colvera is not intended for use in screening a general healthy population.  Currently Colvera is only intended for use in patients known to have had CRC to aid in the early detection of recurrence or residual tumor. Colvera is intended for use in conjunction with other diagnostic tests and appropriate clinical follow up as part of a regularly scheduled surveillance program where it may be used to monitor those who have been previously treated with surgery and/or chemotherapy with curative intent.

  • Can Colvera be used for all colorectal cancer patients currently being monitored irrespective of what stage they have been treated for?

    Published clinical data from a recent clinical study evaluating Colvera included patients who were being monitored for recurrence following treatment for primary colorectal cancer of all stages I through IV.

  • What is the level of detection for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the blood stream?

    The Colvera test has a limit of detection (95% detection confidence) of 17.1 pg. methylated ctDNA per mL of plasma, which is equivalent to three genomic copies of cancer ctDNA per mL plasma.

  • Can blood be drawn in the physicians office?

    Patients should be directed to a Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center (PSC) for their blood draw, as special processing is needed for the patients’ sample at this time.

  • Do patients need to be fasting before having the test?

    There is no need to change or modify your patients diet for testing.

  • What is the specimen type required for testing?

    Colvera only requires two 9-10 mL tubes of whole blood.

  • How long does it take to receive the results?

    Clinical Genomics Laboratory will provide results within 7-10 days.

  • How will Colvera results be reported?

    For Positive Colvera Result:

    POSITIVE (methylation in BCAT1 and/or IZKF1 gene)
    A POSITIVE Colvera result indicates that methylation is detected at specific loci within either BCAT1 and/or IZKF1 and should be followed up consistent with suspected colorectal cancer recurrence, including radiological imaging as appropriate.

    For Negative Colvera Result:

    NEGATIVE (no methylation in either BCAT1 or IZKF1 gene)
    A NEGATIVE Colvera result does not exclude the presence of cancer, and should be interpreted in conjunction with all clinical findings.

  • Is Colvera covered by insurance?

    Clinical Genomics believes everyone should have access to the most innovative medical technology available, and we are committed to ensuring that Colvera is accessible and affordable. We accept all insurance plans and will bill on behalf of the patient. In addition, Clinical Genomics has a Financial Assistance Program with multiple payment plans available based on the patient’s financial situation. We are dedicated to excellence and are here to assist with any questions or concerns patients and family members may have.

    To learn more about our patient-friendly Billing Policy and Assistance Programs please call 855-400-6919 or email