In two cases out of every 100 cancers diagnosed in the UK every year, doctors are faced with cancer of unknown primary site. These include rare cases of carcinoma of unknown primary site, and are a huge problem.
The first signs of cancer, which lead to a diagnosis, usually come from the spread of the disease places. "In patients with carcinoma of unknown primary localization of the symptoms do not develop as long as the cancer has not spread," - explains Dr. Natalie Cook, oncology specialist hospital Christie in Manchester.
A new review article published in the British Journal of Cancer, Cook and her colleagues talk about the problems of the treatment of this type of carcinoma. They are exploring new ways in which scientists can better understand the nature of cancer and improve treatment.
Experts believe that some of the elusive source of cancers can not be detected because they are small or narrowed, so patients also face the risk that the primary tumor can still grow and spread to other parts of the body.
Recommendations for the treatment of cancer based on the knowledge of where there is a primary cancer. Samples of tumors can be used for various diagnostic assays. And that the results of these tests usually determine the treatment. "The problem with carcinoma of unknown primary site is the fact that we only have a small biopsy samples from potential places where the cancer has spread," - says Cook.
Tissue samples also help scientists to study cancer and to collect information about how the disease develops.
"Chemotherapy is usually the only treatment option, and after the standard version of recurrence does not exist", - says Cook. That is why the collection of more information about these cancers is crucial.
The development of more effective ways to diagnose these cancers, and the understanding of their behavior is the first step towards improving treatment options.
Scientists plan to capture tumor cells or cancerous DNA that enters the patient's bloodstream. This material may contain genetic information, helping to decipher, in which the organ or tissue originated cancer. Researchers believe that these blood tests, or "liquid biopsy" can help predict how well the tumor responds to treatment.
'Liquid biopsy - a way to get more information about the patient's tumor without the need for invasive biopsies, "- says Cook. However, it is not enough available treatments, appropriate molecular profiles of patients.
"Now we look at patterns in the molecular profiles to help identify the origin of carcinoma. We also investigate how genetic changes affect the behavior of cancer and tumors interact with the immune system ", - explains Cook.