“Scientists have developed a blood test that can identify key mutations driving resistance to a widely used prostate cancer drug, and identify in advance patients who will not respond to treatment.
“The new research paves the way for information from a blood test to inform prostate cancer treatment in future, with only those patients whose cancers are free of resistance mutations taking the drug, abiraterone.
“The study is also a proof of principle that tests for cancer DNA in the bloodstream can be used to detect drug resistance mutations – allowing patients who will not benefit from one drug to be given an alternative treatment instead.
“Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Trento, Italy, analysed 274 blood samples from 97 patients using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing techniques.
“They found that mutations in a gene called the androgen receptor (AR) predicted resistance to the prostate cancer drug abiraterone, and that patients with these mutations had poorer survival.”