Blood Test Could Predict Best Treatment for Lung Cancer
News Nov 22, 2016
A blood test could predict how well small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients will respond to treatment, according to new research published in Nature Medicine. Scientists, based at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester, isolated tumour cells that had broken away from the main cancer - known as circulating tumour cells (CTCs) - from the blood of 31 patients with this aggressive form of the disease.
When researchers analysed these cells, they discovered that patterns of genetic faults measured before treatment were linked to how well and how long a patient might respond to chemotherapy. Obtaining a tumour sample from lung cancer patients using an operation, known as a biopsy, can be difficult because the tumour is hard to reach and samples are often too small to reveal useful clues on how best to treat patients.
Liquid biopsies offer an alternative to taking tumour samples, providing a snapshot of the disease from a blood sample. The team also investigated the genetic changes that occurred in patients who initially responded well to treatment but later relapsed. The pattern in these cells was different from patients who didn’t respond well to chemotherapy, suggesting different mechanisms of drug resistance had developed.
Lead researcher Professor Caroline Dive, based at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said: “Our study reveals how blood samples could be used to anticipate how lung cancer patients may respond to treatments. “Unfortunately, we have very few treatment options for patients with SCLC, and none at all for those whose cancer is resistant to chemotherapy.
“By identifying differences in the patterns of genetic faults between patients, we now have a starting point to begin to understand more about how drug resistance develops in patients with this aggressive form of lung cancer.” Dr Emma Smith, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said: “Lung cancer causes more than one in five of all cancer deaths in the UK and it’s vital that we find effective new treatments to fight the disease and save more lives.
“These liquid biopsies are an incredibly exciting area of research. Studies like this help build a bigger picture of the disease, pointing the way to developing new treatments that are urgently needed for people with lung cancer.”
Source: Story from University of Manchester. Please note: The content above may have been edited to ensure it is in keeping with Technology Networks' style and length guidelines.
Reference: Carter, L., Rothwell, D. G., Mesquita, B., Smowton, C., Leong, H. S., Fernandez-Gutierrez, F., . . . Brady, G. (2016). Molecular analysis of circulating tumor cells identifies distinct copy-number profiles in patients with chemosensitive and chemorefractory small-cell lung cancer. Nature Medicine. doi:10.1038/nm.4239
Neuroblastoma Biomarker Research Advances TreatmentNews
Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, is treatable in less than half of aggressive cases, but new RNA biomarkers may help identify high-risk patients faster and lead to better prognosis.READ MORE
Test For Designer Drugs Could Help Treat Overdose PatientsNews
Medical professionals are scrambling to meet the growing demand for emergency room treatment, but they’re hampered by the lack of a quick and easy test to screen patients for “designer” drugs. Chemists have now developed such a test and are refining it with the hope that hospitals could eventually use it to choose the appropriate treatment.READ MORE
Cancer Comes Back All 'Jacked Up' on Stem CellsNews
Recent work increasingly shows that tumors are not static - the populations of cells that make up a tumor evolve over time in response to treatment, often in ways that lead to treatment immunity. Instead of being defined by a snapshot, tumors are more like a movie. This means that a tumor that recurs after treatment may be much different than the tumor originally seen in a biopsy.READ MORE