Liquid Biopsy/ Evaluating Cancer Treatment

Liquid Biopsy, a blood test that detects circulating DNA tumor DNA, may not only sound an early alert that a treatment effect is diminishing but may also may offer clues about what to do next according to a new study published   Researchers say “We have shown that integrating regular liquid biopsy into our patient routine care is feasible and easily incorporated into clinical practice.” ” This technology can precisely help us understand each patient’s individual disease course and allows us to tailor care based on an understanding of their significant disease biology.”

In the study 40 patients with various forms of gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers who had previously responded to treatment that stopped were included. Liquid biopsies were done when their disease began to progress and circulating tumor DNA in the blood was analyzed for genetic mutation that might be making patients resistant to treatment. Thirty one of the 40 patients had at least one mutation, and 14 had more than 1 mutation. It was interesting that about two thirds of patients  had traditional biopsies taken at the same time and the liquid biopsy picked up extra mutations that could not be seen in the tissue biopsy. Researchers said “Identifying what specific mutations are responsible for treatment resistance is very important in helping clinicians choosing what treatment path  a patient should try next, whether it be another drug or prehaps radiation.”

Although liquid biopsies are not widely used outside the research setting, the researchers believe they are about to transform cancer treatment. The researchers say “We have shown this approach to be feasible across different GI cancers.” “Thew next step is to study how best to use this technology in daily practice.”

NB>I came across liquid biopsies a couple months ago while working on content for my cancer website .  I will have the test information on the site within the next month  as it is used to detect cancer and can do so before many other tests. However, the major problem now is that the cost can be up to $4,500.

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