Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Koch Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute of Cancer Dana-Farber developed a precise approach to monitoring the cancer DNA from blood samples. The work is published in Nature Communications.
Scientists have shown that almost 90 percent of the genetic characteristics of the tumor can be detected in blood samples by sequencing. This method can be effectively used in 49% of patients with advanced cancer.
"Our goal is to use a blood biopsy for a comprehensive search and performance, even the smallest areas of the tumor, - explains Victor Adalshteynsson, co-author of the article -. And because tumors develop in the later stages of cancer becoming metastatic, we can advance to determine which treatments are suitable for a particular patient. "
The ability to detect and analyze cancer DNA from a blood sample of the patient is becoming a promising alternative to invasive surgical biopsy, which can be expensive and painful. Blood biopsy allows doctors to track the progress of the disease and the treatment in real time.
Cells, including tumor, regularly sending fragments of DNA into the bloodstream when they die. Biopsy of blood, clinicians collect the DNA "cell-free". Tracking this information would allow to control the recurrence of cancer, the patient's response to treatment, and other clinically important functions.
Gavin Ha, a graduate student at the Institute of Cancer Dana-Farber, headed the development ichorCNA instrument that can analyze fragments of DNA for mutations models which are almost universal in cancer genomes. Ha focused on the discovery of DNA that are either less than or more copies in cancer cells compared with healthy.
Study Group ichorCNA checked at 1439 blood samples of patients with metastatic breast cancer or prostate cancer. Using this approach, researchers have found that 33-49 percent of patients tumor DNA was more than 10 percent of the cell-free DNA in blood, which is sufficient for sequencing.
"We can use a blood biopsy to large-scale genomic characteristics of patients with metastatic cancer," - the researchers believe.
"This opens up the possibility for a large number of studies that we could not hold earlier", - adds Goetz, director of the group on the analysis of the cancer genome. - This technology allows you to track the dynamics of the development of cancer, drug resistance and to analyze the development of metastasis. "
"Now is the basis for the precise measurement and control of tumor DNA in plasma, allowing biopsy genomic analysis of blood," - says Myerson, Professor of Pathology. Opportunity to non-invasively monitor the cancer and its treatment can change the clinical treatment.