Can a blood test lead to more precise treatments for lung cancer patients?

3-4-2019 la sci sn liquid biopsy cancer lung
Image credit: Justin Sullivan

Could a blood test help more lung cancer patients get drugs that are targeted to the genetic weaknesses of their tumors?

Yes, according to summary results of a 282-patient clinical trial being made available [February 27]. The result is a boon for Guardant Health, the San Francisco-based startup that sells the test, Guardant360, which is a “liquid biopsy” that works by detecting fragments of DNA in the bloodstream.

All of the 282 patients had been newly diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. Each received both a traditional biopsy — a small amount of tumor tissue removed from the lung — and the Guardant blood test to try to identify if the patient’s cancer was driven by one of seven genetic alterations (EGFR, ALK, ROS1, BRAF, RET, MET, and ERBB2) that medical guidelines say should be treated with particular targeted drugs.

Related article:  Podcast: Can we 'outsmart' cancer with synthetic biology? Dr. Tim Lu talks customized disease treatments

[T]he blood test was more likely to match patients with drugs. It was also much faster. Results arrived in nine days with the Guardant blood test compared to 15 for the biopsy patients, meaning that very sick patients could start treatment sooner.

Read full, original post: Guardant’s blood test might replace biopsies for some lung cancer patients, study says

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