Blood Test Instead of Biopsy for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“There has been a lot of buzz recently about the use of ‘liquid biopsies’ and how these blood tests that show cancer may be able to replace the need for tissue biopsies.

“The latest study shows that such a test could be useful in metastatic prostate cancer, where the biopsy sample would need to be taken from bone, which is painful, risky, and expensive, says an expert.

“This study used the Guardant360 test and found that cell-free, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) was detected in most patients (94%) with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).”

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Testing for Tumor Mutations: Liquid Biopsy Versus Traditional Biopsy


Liquid biopsies, virtually unknown even a year or two ago, are becoming common tools in precision diagnostics for cancer. Here, I will try to explain some of the more important differences between liquid and “traditional” tumor biopsies.

Biopsies of solid tumors (e.g., lung, breast, or brain tumors) involve surgically removing a small part of a tumor and sending it to pathology lab. In the last few years, doctors have also started to send some tumor samples to special service labs that analyze tumor DNA for the presence of cancer-related mutations.

By definition, regular biopsies can be intrusive and are sometimes associated with side effects, such as bleeding or infection. However, they provide some really essential information; i.e., the histology and grade of the tumor and other tumor characteristics necessary to determine the best choice of treatment. For lung cancer, for example, a biopsy determines the type of tumor—adenocarcinoma, squamous cancer, small-cell lung cancer, or another, less common type. For breast cancer, a routine test will determine if the tumor expresses estrogen, progesterone receptors, and a protein called HER2. These tests are critically important in guiding treatment choices. If mutational analysis of cancer-related genes is also performed (which doesn’t always happen, unfortunately), it may guide treatment with targeted drugs. Continue reading…


Case for Liquid Biopsies Builds in Advanced Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“For patients with advanced lung cancer, a non-invasive liquid biopsy may be a more effective and suitable alternative to the gold standard tissue biopsy to detect clinically relevant mutations and help guide their course of treatment, suggests a new study published this week in the journal Clinical Cancer Research from researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania(ACC).

“In patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated at Penn’s ACC, mutations detected from liquid biopsies (cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) captured from blood) closely paralleled the mutations from tissue biopsies identified in next generation sequencing tests: EGRF, TP53, and ALK, to name a few. What’s more, in several cases, liquid biopsies captured clinically relevant mutations not found in tissue biopsies as patients’ disease progressed.”

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Biodesix Launches GeneStrat Targeted Liquid Biopsy Mutation Test For Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer

“Biodesix, Inc. today announced the launch of GeneStrat™, a targeted liquid biopsy mutation test for genotyping tumors of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The blood test results are available within 72 hours, providing physicians actionable diagnostic information prior to making treatment decisions. GeneStrat is focused exclusively on the clinically actionable EGFR, KRAS, and BRAF mutations often used to guide targeted therapy treatment decisions. GeneStrat also captures the EGFR T790M mutation, which can be used for monitoring the emergence of the primary resistance mutation in the EGFR gene. It is anticipated that two drugs targeting the resistance mutation may be available later this year. GeneStrat uses the ddPCR platform to analyze cell-free tumor DNA and is highly concordant with tissue analysis, currently considered the gold standard.

“Roughly 30% of lung cancer patients either have insufficient biopsy tissue or are not candidates for a biopsy for tumor mutation profiling. Even in cases where tissue biopsy is available, the sense of urgency to treat is great, with one recent study showing that one out of four patients begin cancer treatment before receiving mutation test results. Requiring only a blood draw, GeneStrat offers a fast, minimally invasive alternative to a high-risk tissue biopsy or re-biopsy in patients with insufficient tissue.

“In addition to providing a minimally-invasive source of mutation status, liquid biopsy can be more cost-effective than traditional tissue biopsies. The mean cost of each tissue biopsy is $14,634 across all patients. The cost of a tissue biopsy can be up to four time higher in the 19.3% of patients who have complications associated with the biopsy. GeneStrat liquid biopsy can help avoid the cost and complications of repeat tissue biopsy.”


DNA Shed by Tumors Shows Promise for Non-Invasive Screening and Prognosis

“Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumors into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies, according to results of an international study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators.

“Analyzing blood samples from 640 patients with various cancers, the researchers used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technology (a sophisticated method of multiplying and measuring the number DNA molecules) to evaluate how well the DNA fragments predicted the presence of tumors in the patients.”


DNA Shed by Tumors Shows Promise for Non-Invasive Screening and Prognosis

“Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumors into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies, according to results of an international study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators.

“Analyzing blood samples from 640 patients with various cancers, the researchers used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technology (a sophisticated method of multiplying and measuring the number DNA molecules) to evaluate how well the DNA fragments predicted the presence of tumors in the patients.”


DNA Shed by Tumors Shows Promise for Non-Invasive Screening and Prognosis

“Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumors into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies, according to results of an international study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators.

“Analyzing blood samples from 640 patients with various cancers, the researchers used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technology (a sophisticated method of multiplying and measuring the number DNA molecules) to evaluate how well the DNA fragments predicted the presence of tumors in the patients.”