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Liquid Biopsies

Posted 12/29/2016

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  Who comes up with these terms? It does make sense, but liquid biopsy sounds a bit odd. It means a new method of identifying circulating DNA from tumor cells in blood, regular old blood draws. This is being touted as a hopeful new way to treat people with recurrent cancer.

  Today's articles are a bit geeky but this is an interesting concept of trying to better identify drugs that are likely to be helpful to a particular individual. We know that the general thrust of cancer treatment is increasingly towards individualized care, and this is a step in that direction.

  I am going to give you two links today. Here is the first from Cure Today:

Liquid Biopsies are a Promising Method for Analyzing
What Drives C
Debu Tripathy, MD

WE HAVE KNOWN THAT cancers evolve since we first started treating them with chemotherapy in the 1940s and that, after responding, they could become resistant to treatment.
When we developed better tools to analyze the genes in tumors over time, we were then able to discern specific abnormalities, particularly mutations, that led to treatment resistance. However, obtaining biopsies, especially repeatedly, is expensive, and not entirely safe. This has changed with liquid biopsies, a new way to look for those mutations from DNA released by tumor cells — through a simple blood draw and a genomic analysis of that sample. In this special issue of CURE, one of our articles highlights the importance of these new tests. Some are already approved to help make decisions about drugs that are specific for certain mutations. In the future, the ability to detect tumor DNA in the blood will allow researchers to study the evolution of tumors at the most detailed level. We are already aware of many genes that drive specific cancers during various stages of treatment, but we hope that ongoing analyses of mutational evolution over time will reveal more. Then, these could be targeted with a new generation of drugs that reverse resistance or could be given in combination with established drugs to make them work better and longer.

Read more:

And from Medscape:

Liquid Biopsy at Cancer Progression: This Is the Future
Liam Davenport

So-called liquid biopsies, which are based on standard blood draws, can identify molecular alterations that drive disease progression and hence drug resistance in almost 80% of patients, say researchers, who predict their findings that will change oncology practice during the next 5 years.
Speaking here at the 28th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, the researchers also showed that in comparison with standard tumor biopsy in gastrointestinal cancer patients, analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in plasma samples was able to detect additional mechanisms of resistance in more than 60% of cases.
"Overall, these data show how routine clinical implementation of liquid biopsy at the time of disease progression...can effectively identify important mechanisms of resistance and may offer certain advantages relative to tumor biopsies," commented lead
researcher Ryan Corcoran, MD, PhD, translational research director, Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers, Massachusetts Hospital Cancer Center, Boston.
"Furthermore, liquid biopsies may better capture 'tumor heterogeneity,' or the evolution of distinct resistance mechanisms in different tumor cells in independent metastases in the same patient, which might be missed by a needle biopsy of a single tumor lesion," he added.



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