An international research team has conducted a study to evaluate the capability of a new blood test to predict treatment response in patients with advanced prostate cancer.
The team involved Canadian Lawson Health Research Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and medical diagnostics company Epic Sciences in the US, and UK’s Royal Marsden Trust.
Developed by Epic Sciences, the liquid biopsy test is intended for patients who want to switch from hormone-targeting therapy to chemotherapy.
The test is designed to analyse blood samples for the detection of circulating tumour cells (CTCs). It specifically looks to determine the presence or absence of the AR-V7 protein in the CTC nucleus.
During the study, the researchers aimed to establish if the identification of this protein would help in predicting a specific treatment’s capability to prolong a patient’s life.
Findings revealed that patients testing positive for the protein responded best to taxane-based chemotherapy, while those who tested negative had the best response to hormone-targeting treatment with androgen-receptor signalling (ARS) inhibitor drugs.
Lawson Health Research Institute scientist Alison Allan said: “The study focused on a critical decision point when patients and their oncologists are choosing what therapy to pursue next.
“We are addressing a critical unmet need by validating that a blood test or liquid biopsy can be used to select a therapy most likely to extend a patient’s life.”
The study enrolled 142 patients who previously received at least one hormone-targeting therapy without success and are considering a switch to a similar therapy or chemotherapy.
In the future, the researchers plan to investigate the use of this test or other CTC blood tests for early optimal therapy decisions in advanced prostate cancer care.
The team will additionally partner with Epic Sciences to assess different versions of the blood test for other forms of cancer, including lung cancer.