Biocept has reported that its cerebrospinal fluid assay, CNSide, could identify tumour cells, as well as actionable mutations, in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LMC).

The latest data from a study permits the use of the test for targeted therapy decisions that could enhance outcomes and boost life expectancy, the company noted.

Carried out at the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute, US, the study assessed the ability of the CNSide assay to identify and evaluate tumour cells in the cerebrospinal fluid of 15 patients.

Findings showed that CNSide identified tumour cells in all the analysed samples with LMC, while cytology identified tumour cells in only 40% of the samples.

Furthermore, the assay also detected actionable biomarkers in tumour cells, which aided oncologists to make targeted therapy decisions that reduced debilitating symptoms and improved patient survival by more than three years in certain cases.

The study data indicated that CNSide is highly sensitive compared to cytology, Biocept noted, adding that LMC patient survival can be extended by detecting and treating an actionable target.

Biocept chief medical officer and medical director Michael Dugan said: “CNSide has demonstrated the ability to reliably detect and analyse tumour cells in the cerebrospinal fluid that may not be found in blood or tissue samples.

“The specific molecular targets identified in these tumour cells can help guide a physician’s choice of newer, more effective therapies and inform the response to therapy in a way that can really help these patients see an improvement of symptoms and live significantly longer lives.”

Between 3% and 9% of NSCLC patients develop LMC, a complication characterised by the spread of cancer to the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

Usually, LMC is diagnosed through clinical analysis, imaging and cytology, all of which have reduced sensitivity, the company said.

If the condition is not treated, patients have an average life expectancy of just four to six weeks.

In April, Biocept initiated the full commercial launch of its CNSide assay, which helps identify and manage the treatment of metastatic cancers involving the central nervous system.