Saturday, April 18, 2015

Circulating tumor DNA can be used to tailor treatment

CANCER DIGEST – April 17, 2015 – Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimize treatment when tumor tissue is not available, an international group of researchers has reported at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The results have important implications for the use of cancer therapies that target specific cancer mutations, explains Dr Martin Reck from the Department of Thoracic Oncology at Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf, Germany, who presented the findings at the conference.

The large international ASSESS study aimed to compare the ability of blood testing to detect EGFR mutations with the more standard method of testing the tumor itself. Overall, the study included 1162 matched tissue and blood samples. Comparison of the outcomes of EGFR testing in the two techniques showed an 89 percent rate of agreement between the blood test and tissue test. Plasma testing identified about half of the patients with EGFR mutations, compared to tissue testing.

"The results mean that for patients who do not have accessible tumor tissue, plasma testing for EGFR mutation turns out to be an attractive option to offer these patients adequate targeted treatment," Reck added.

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