Blood test could give insight into patients’ metastatic cancer

Blood test could give insight into patients' metastatic cancer

The blood test focuses on circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

Blood-based biopsy technology, also known as liquid biopsy, has become a tool for clinical cancer genotyping and longitudinal disease monitoring. Photo: Shutterstock.

A group of researchers reported that after investigation, they found that a new blood test that analyzes DNA released from metastatic cancers could reveal unique characteristics of each patient’s tumor and allow doctors to develop treatment plans. more personalized treatment, according to a new report. .

By sequencing the entire ctDNA genome, researchers can learn more about the different metastases distributed throughout the body.

“A key goal of cancer research is to better understand metastatic cancer in each affected person so that we can select the best treatments and avoid giving toxic therapies to people who will not benefit,” said the lead author Alexander Wyatt, MD, professor of genitourinary cancer genomics. assistant at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and senior researcher at the Vancouver Prostate Center, he told Medscape Medical News.

“However, metastatic cancer biopsies are rarely performed because they are invasive and carry risks of complications,” he said. “In the past, this significant barrier has hampered the widespread study of metastatic cancer and progress toward better treatment for this deadly disease,” reports the study published in Nature on July 20.

Test methods

Blood-based biopsy technology, also known as “liquid biopsy”, has become a tool for clinical cancer genotyping and longitudinal disease monitoring. Tests using ctDNA have begun to influence the clinical management of people with cancer, the study authors write, although the full potential for understanding the biology of metastatic cancer has yet to be unlocked.

Wyatt and colleagues analyzed serial plasma and synchronous metastases in patients with aggressive and refractory prostate cancer using whole-genome deep sequencing, which allows for comprehensive assessment of every part of the genetic code in cells. cancerous.

The researchers assessed all classes of genomic alterations and found that ctDNA contains several dominant populations, indicating that most people with metastatic cancer have different metastases distributed throughout the body. They found that the whole process of genome sequencing provides a wealth of information about these different metastases.

The research team used newly developed computer programs to provide information about the genetic makeup of each cancer population, which can tell researchers about a person’s overall disease rather than a metastatic tumor. In the future, this information could help doctors make better decisions about managing a patient’s cancer.

The research team used ctDNA nucleosome fingerprinting to infer mRNA expression in synchronously biopsied metastases. They identified treatment-induced changes in androgen receptor transcription factor signaling activity. This means that whole-genome ctDNA sequencing can reveal active processes occurring in cells, allowing clinicians to predict which treatments will be effective or ineffective in individual patients.

Source consulted here.

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