New Blood Test for ROS1 Could Help People with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Make Personalized Treatment Decisions

The gist: A new blood test might help people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) make decisions about their treatment. Doctors often use molecular testing to look for tumor mutations that might affect which treatments they suggest to a patient. Molecular testing requires tumor cells, which are usually taken directly from the tumor in a biopsy. A new, less invasive molecular test for NSCLC just requires a blood sample. The test uses circulating tumor DNA, pieces of DNA released by tumor cells into the bloodstream. It looks for a mutation known as ROS1 gene rearrangement. Patients with this mutation might be able to take specific drugs that target the mutation to treat cancer.

“Biocept, Inc. (Nasdaq:BIOC), a molecular oncology diagnostics company specializing in biomarker analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs), today announced the launch of ROS1 testing on CTCs, which will help physicians identify which of their patients may be receptive to certain drugs for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

“Biocept’s new blood test identifies chromosomal rearrangements of the gene encoding ROS1 proto-oncogene receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS1), thereby defining a distinct molecular subgroup of NSCLCs. Patients with ROS1-positive tumors may be receptive to a number of therapeutic options that inhibit this target.

“It can be difficult to obtain enough tissue material for molecular testing of biomarkers like ROS1 from lung cancer patients due to the small size of tissue biopsies. Occasionally, tissue biopsies are altogether impossible because of risks associated with a surgical procedure for these patients. Biocept’s ‘liquid biopsy’ offers a method of determining the crucial genomic status of a tumor using a simple blood test.”


Innovative Non-Invasive 'Liquid Biopsy' Method to Capture Circulating Tumor Cells from Blood Samples for Genetic Testing

“Researchers seek partners to commercialize a clinically proven non-invasive fluorescence virus-guided capture system of human colorectal circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood samples for genetic testing. This non-invasive companion diagnostics is important for personalized targeted cancer therapy.”

Editor’s note: Cells sometimes break off of a tumor and enter the bloodstream of a patient; these cells are known as “circulating tumor cells” (CTCs). Researchers have developed a new blood test for CTCs that could reveal information about which treatments might work best for a patient. In particular, the test could pinpoint genetic mutations in the tumor cells that would indicate whether certain targeted therapies might work for a patient. The test is notable because it only requires a blood sample from a patient, instead of an invasive surgical biopsy to retrieve cells directly from a tumor. The researchers who developed the test are hoping to work with partners to help them commercialize the test and make it widely available to patients.


Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

“A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients’ chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer’s risk of metastasizing from a blood sample — the long-sought-after liquid biopsy.”


Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

“A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients’ chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer’s risk of metastasizing from a blood sample — the long-sought-after liquid biopsy.”


Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

“A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients’ chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer’s risk of metastasizing from a blood sample — the long-sought-after liquid biopsy.”


'Liquid Biopsy' Offers New Way to Track Lung Cancer

“Scientists have shown how a lung cancer patient’s blood sample could be used to monitor and predict their response to treatment – paving the way for personalised medicine for the disease.

“The recent study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, also offers a method to test new therapies in the lab and to better understand how tumours become resistant to drugs.

“Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive disease with poor survival and new treatments are desperately needed. In many cases the tumour is inoperable and biopsies are difficult to obtain, giving scientists few samples with which to study the disease.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”


Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

“For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.

“Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called ‘liquid biopsies.’

“Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them.”