CIRCULOGENE’s Molecular Testing Can Potentially Improve Management of Advanced Ovarian Cancer Patients
Product News Jun 20, 2018
Researchers at the University of Alabama–Birmingham (UAB) have successfully used molecular testing from CIRCULOGENE to identify multiple mutations in advanced ovarian cancer patients following chemotherapy and surgery. The trial’s promising results could lead to better, more targeted treatments in late-stage ovarian and other hard-to-treat cancers.
In the independent study published in Molecular Cancer Research, a small group of patients with High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma (HGSOC) underwent chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or NACT) to help slow the cancer’s progress.1 Because NACT can cause molecular changes over time and create a “moving tumor target” for clinicians to try and treat, it gave researchers the chance to compare the effectiveness of solid tumor biopsies and blood biopsies in tracking changes before and after NACT.
“Researchers discovered significantly more gene mutation in blood biopsy compared to standard next generation sequencing of solid tumor samples,” said CIRCULOGENE Chief Scientific Officer Chen-Hsiung Yeh, Ph.D. “This research demonstrates the utility of our cell-free DNA testing and its ability to noninvasively identify mutations present at the time of tumor recurrence to help guide therapy.”
In the study, circulating cell free DNA (cfDNA) was isolated from plasma using CIRCULOGENE’s proprietary enrichment and recovery technology. Of the 59 mutations detected in the plasma pre-NACT, only 6 persisted, whereas 33 of 38 specific mutations in the tumor DNA remained unchanged.
“The majority of mutations found in blood were not present in archived tumor tissue and likely represent the dynamic clonal evolution of the tumor over time,” observed Chen. “The results are very exciting because clinicians need better strategies to capture and monitor the full picture of genomic changes. Blood-based molecular testing, in this aspect, could lead to better stratification and more targeted treatment of patients during the course of disease progression.”
Ovarian cancer is the fifth deadliest cancer among American women, and HGSOC is the most common form of ovarian cancer. It is highly aggressive, has unusual genetic alterations and is usually not discovered until it is late-stage, resulting in very low five-year survival rates. The ability to use molecular testing technology such as CIRCULOGENE’s to identify prognostic circulating genetic biomarkers would allow for faster translation of discoveries into the clinic and potentially help predict therapeutic response.
“As personalized medicine advances, it will be important for oncologists and pathologists to have access to profiling panels such as CIRCULOGENE’s cfDNA testing, which rapidly captures and identifies a variety of potentially actionable mutations in real time without invasive procedures,” said CIRCULOGENE CEO Mike Mullen.
Study authors hope that more research with blood-based molecular testing will help better distinguish patients who would optimally benefit from initial tumor-reduction surgery from those who would better benefit from interval surgery following NACT.