A new study funded by Cancer Research UK has shown that a personalised blood test can be used to identify the risk of lung cancer returning.
Developed by biotech company Inivata, the liquid biopsy, called RaDaR, has the ability to pick up tiny fragments of DNA released into the blood as tumours grow.
The Lung Cancer Circulating Tumour DNA (LUCID-DNA) study showed how circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is able to reveal a tumour’s state, location and weaknesses.
This helps clinicians select appropriate treatments for patients.
Many early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients can be cured with either surgery, radiotherapy or, sometimes, (chemo)radiotherapy.
These treatments are followed up with tests, including CT scans, to find out if the tumour has been successfully removed.
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However, the scans cannot pick up the tiny quantities of cancer cells, called minimal residual disease (MRD), that can regrow into further tumours.
The LUCID-DNA study is aimed at finding out if circulating DNA can be detected in early-stage lung cancers using the RaDaR test.
The test can analyse up to 48 mutations that are unique to a patient’s tumour.
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute group leader and Inivata chief scientific officer Dr Nitzan Rosenfeld said: “If cancer cells remain in the body after treatment a tumour can regrow. If that happens, it is a big setback for patients and the doctors treating them.
“Liquid biopsy can be used to detect tiny amounts of residual cancer after treatment, flagging those patients who have signs that their tumour may not have been eradicated completely with treatment.
“We’re hoping that this technology could help doctors decide when additional rounds of treatment are needed and could save lives.”