Liquid biopsies

  • The term liquid biopsy refers to detecting bits of cancer DNA circulating in the blood
  • They could be a simple way to sample tumor DNA in the blood to see if patients are responding to treatment, check for mutations or drug resistance, or see if cancer has returned.
  • Liquid biopsies offer a non-invasive alternative to standard tissue biopsies and are expected to be a multibillion-dollar market.
  • With a liquid biopsy, doctors could know immediately when a cancer starts changing and could adapt therapy to suit
  • Today, we typically change therapy when the cancer progresses or grows – but we know the mutations occur much, much earlier
  • Two new studies published recently of patients with breast and prostate cancers add to growing evidence
  • Eventually, they could be used to screen healthy patients. But many more studies are needed first
  • What is really missing at the moment is the hard evidence that using liquid biopsy and treating patients on that basis improves hard endpoints like how long the patient lives. The field really needs those studies to change practice
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