Liquid Biopsy is a Beneficial Complement to Tissue Biopsy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (June 4, 2018) – A new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that liquid biopsy can be a valuable tool in assessing patients’ progress throughout treatment for colorectal cancer. Researchers found that administering the blood test at intervals to search for circulating tumor cells or DNA in conjunction with current diagnostic tests can provide information that will help physicians adjust treatment decisions. Pooja Ghatalia, MD, a hematology/oncology fellow at Fox Chase, will present the findings as part of the ASCO 2018 annual meeting later this week.

The study followed 33 patients at different time points during treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer. Most of the patients had also undergone tumor biopsy and/or other diagnostic testing, such as CT scans. Comparing the liquid biopsy results with tumor biopsy and other standard techniques, the researchers found that blood testing was useful in detecting mutations, monitoring disease burden, and identifying drug resistance, among other markers.

“Our research shows that liquid biopsy is a valuable tool that physicians may be able to use throughout cancer treatment to track whether and how well a given therapy is working, avoid false interpretations of diagnostic tests, and to guide clinical decision-making,” said Ghatalia.

The full reference and coauthors is:  Ghatalia, P., Smith, C., Winer, A., Gou, J., Kiedrowski, L.A., Saltzberg, P.D., Bubes, N., Anari, F.M., Kasireddy, V., Varshavsky, A., Liu. Y., Ross, E.A., and El-Deiry, W.S.  Liquid biopsies (LB) across treatment of 29 metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) patients (pts) reveal driver mutations and tumor evolution with anti-EGFR therapy: Experience in a GI Oncology clinic at Fox Chase Cancer Center. 54th Annual ASCO meeting, Chicago, IL, June 1-5, 2018.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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