Dr. Kim Chi, medical oncologist and senior scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, and his colleagues at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, have demonstrated the clinical value of performing genomic profiling through non-invasive blood tests to benefit patients undergoing treatment for metastatic prostate cancer.
The findings, published in JAMA Oncology, prove that a blood test can provide critical genomic detail to help inform treatment decisions through genomic profiling of the cell free DNA (cfDNA) found within the blood sample.
“We believe that a blood test holds the critical cfDNA detail required to inform highly targeted clinical decisions for our patients. Our studies are now building on these findings to advance the remarkable promise cfDNA as we implement a blood biopsy and genomic profiling approach into precision medicine research programs for our patients,” said Dr. Chi.
Profiling the cfDNA of patients undergoing treatment for metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer provided Dr. Chi and colleagues concrete indicators of an individuals’ resistance to treatment and revealed potential targets for treatment.
These findings are critical for patients facing metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer as resistance to treatment is inevitable. For this reason, there is an urgent need to establish a practical method of collecting and profiling the genomic attributes of a patient’s cancer to help guide treatment selection.
In this study the researchers were able to detect ctDNA in the blood of more than 75 per cent of the patients studied. This non-invasive method of collecting critical genomic detail of the patient’s cancer will help to overcome significant clinical challenges and patient discomfort experienced through current biopsy procedures.
- Liquid biopsy – a blood test performed to uncover robust molecular information
- cfDNA is cell-free DNA found in blood samples of cancer patients that exhibit the genetic and epigenetic changes found in the patient’s tumor
- ctDNA is circulating tumour DNA are small pieces of the tumours DNA that circulate in the blood stream
Looking forward, Dr. Chi is confident that cfDNA liquid biopsies will provide a simple method of pre-determining the appropriate treatment selection for his patients to increase success rates and decrease the chance of resistance or treatment failure.
Next steps will see the inclusion of more patients to validate cfDNA as a predictor of treatment resistance and sensitivity and to utilize the test to streamline patients into clinical trials of new therapies.