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

June 4, 2018

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.

Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, Deputy Director for Translational Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center and the senior author of the study further stated: “Our focus on metastatic colorectal cancer in a subspecialty GI oncology clinic at Fox Chase Cancer Center has allowed us to recognize a number of situations where liquid biopsy appears to be helpful in patient care. Larger data sets and prospective clinical trials can in the future further analyze some of the interesting findings with regard to tumor heterogeneity, and the impact of various therapies on acquired resistance mutations. We believe more studies will establish the role and extent to which liquid biopsy can be incorporated in the routine care of patients with advanced cancer.”

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.

       

The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment 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 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 four 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. 
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