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Press Release

updated: May 8, 2020 16:39 EDT

An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Volume 245, Issue 8, May, 2020) (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1535370220906518) describes a noninvasive method for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The study, led by Dr. Yan Zhang in the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease at Guangzhou Medical University in Guangzhou (China) reports that variations in cell-free circulating tumor DNA in plasma from peripheral blood specimens can be used as biomarkers for cancer prognosis and drug efficacy.

Gene mutations can be used as biomarkers to diagnose cancers, monitor disease recurrence and metastasis, and identify effective therapies. Faster, noninvasive and effective detection of biomarkers would allow patients to begin treatment sooner and improve treatment outcomes. Cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) found in plasma from peripheral blood can be used as a liquid biopsy to monitor disease status. Liquid biopsy is noninvasive, rapid and can detect recurrence sooner than imaging methods. Nonetheless, direct comparisons of liquid biopsy and tumor biopsy in the same patient are limited.

In the current study, Dr. Zhang and colleagues examined 416 cancer-related genes in primary tumors and plasma samples from patients with 11 different types of cancers. Bioinformatic tools were used to obtain the comprehensive mutation landscape. Quantitative assessment of the degree of agreement indicated that liquid biopsy was as reliable as tissue biopsy. Furthermore, variations in ctDNA could be used as a biomarker for cancer prognosis and predicting drug efficacy. Dr. Zhang said “Simultaneous detection of primary tissue and plasma ctDNA in the same patient allows us to clearly understand the degree of tissue and plasma consistency, and the types of mutations that can be used for liquid biopsies. Screening cancer prognostic biomarkers will allow clinicians to monitor individual patient response and to switch treatment protocols quickly.”

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology & Medicine, said “Zhang and colleagues have demonstrated the value of a liquid biopsy in which they do exome sequencing on plasma circulating tumor (ct) DNA. This noninvasive approach can detect tumors and cancer progression earlier than invasive biopsy’s with great accuracy.”

Experimental Biology and Medicine is a global journal dedicated to the publication of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the biomedical sciences. The journal was first established in 1903. Experimental Biology and Medicine is the journal of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine. To learn about the benefits of society membership, visit www.sebm.org. For anyone interested in publishing in the journal, please visit http://ebm.sagepub.com.

Source: Experimental Biology and Medicine