Breast cancer: the liquid biopsy allows to follow the treatment and to predict the risks of evolution

A new study demonstrates how liquid biopsy, a blood-based diagnostic tool, can predict the progression of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. A chance to better adapt the treatment and reduce the risk of death for this type of cancer difficult to treat.

Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most difficult to treat. No marker on the surface of cancer cells responds to targeted therapy. Consequence: the chances of survival are reduced for patients.

New study published by a research team at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in the United States, shows how liquid biopsy, the analysis of tumor DNA circulating in the blood, can better define cancer and predict the risks in case of metastatic triple negative breast cancer. The results are published in the paper edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

What is the liquid biopsy?

It is a diagnostic tool that is done by sampling (blood, cerebral spinal fluid or saliva). Thanks to the liquid biopsy, doctors get information on the circulating tumor DNA that they collect most often with a simple blood test and that they can thus analyze.

By analyzing it, they may know information useful for monitoring the treatment of cancer: the stage of cancer, mutations of cancer cells, the risks that cancer resists treatment ...

A personalized technique

The researchers examined blood samples from 164 women with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. To analyze the circulating tumor DNA, they used a liquid biopsy technique that they themselves developed and customized.

The latter made it possible to distinguish DNA levels from cancer cells and healthy cells.

10% tumor DNA and less chance of survival

US scientists found that 64% of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer had more than 10% of tumor DNA in their blood. This threshold was also correlated with low chances of survival.

"The results of our team - and others obtained through the liquid biopsy - could improve the way we track the disease and treat our patients in the clinic", explains Heather Parsons, co-author of the study. The liquid biopsy therefore represents a hope for the development of targeted treatment, to better treat triple metastatic breast cancer.

Video: Liquid biopsy in breast cancer practice (December 2019).