Liquid Biopsy: Genetic Testing For Cancer

 

One of the most exciting innovations in cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring is the Liquid Biopsy, also known as circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) Analysis and cell free DNA (cfDNA) Analysis.

In brief Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) is a simple blood test that looks for tumour DNA in your blood sample.

This test provides us quickly with information on all of the tumours in your body at the same time, which is quite remarkable in and of itself. However, it also gives us detailed information on the percentage of each mutation found in your blood. This is incredibly valuable information as it allows us to determine which mutation is driving your cancer and therefore, which one needs to be the primary target for your targeted cancer therapy.

Find the Right Cancer Treatment for You – Faster

Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) is a simple, fast, detailed assessment of two very important aspects to successful cancer treatment:

1. Targeted Cancer Therapy: Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA)* identifies common targetable mutations that may be driving your cancer, and it does it quickly too!

We will have the results of your test in 7 days (or less) which means we can find the best targeted cancer therapy for you faster and you can start feeling better.

2. Cancer Treatment Monitoring: It is no longer necessary to engage in ongoing CT scans; MRIs and the like in order to see how well your treatment is working. With Liquid Biopsy technology it’s as simple as a blood test in order for you to see how effective your treatment is.

Monitoring the percentage of tumour DNA in your bloodstream is a simple, non-invasive way of assessing how your treatment is working and making quick adjustments as needed to your treatment regime.

No time is wasted on the wrong treatment and you can easily monitor your body for years after treatment to ensure you are still cancer free.

How Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) Works

While it has long been known that tumour cells release DNA into the blood, what is significant is that the DNA that is released will also have the same genetic mutations as the primary cancer tumour, as well as other sites of metastasis.

In fact, it is now possible to test your tumour DNA without requiring a biopsy sample, just from a simple blood test.

A Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA / cfDNA) test checks your blood for tumour DNA to tell us what mutations may be driving your cancer. The concentration of tumour DNA in your blood stream tell us how advanced your cancer is and if your treatment is benefitting you.

So Why is This Important?

Knowing quickly if your treatment is working is fundamental to your success and recovery.

The importance of Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) testing is that it provides us with information about ALL of the tumours in your body at the same time, in real time, rather than just a single biopsy sample that may or may not still be relevant. Additionally, this information is provided to you within a week of your test, if not sooner.

Once we have identified any mutations involved in your cancer, this test can be used (throughout your treatment and afterwards) to monitor whether your cancer is growing or shrinking. This means we can tell very quickly how well your cancer treatment is working for you based on the relative amount of the identified mutation that we find in the follow up Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) sample.

In other words, this test can tell us quickly and non-invasively whether a treatment is working or not, based on the amount of a specific mutation compared to the non-mutated DNA found in your blood.

For example: If you are using a drug to target a known mutation that has been shown to be driving your cancer, such as an EGFR mutation (a mutation common in non-small cell lung cancer), then we can use the Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) test to monitor the amount of the EGFR mutated DNA that we find in your blood.

  • If the amount of EGFR mutated DNA goes down during the course of treatment, then we know the drug is working!
  • If it does not go down, then we know that the treatment is unlikely to provide you with any benefit and we can quickly arrange for you to access a different treatment that can provide you with better results. No time is wasted, and that, I am sure you’ll agree, is supremely important when dealing with cancer.

The Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA / cfDNA) test is so accurate it can identify cancer causing mutations in as little as 0.02% of your total DNA! In other words, it can tell you when a tumour is present in your body before it will show up in even the most advanced forms of imaging such as PET/CT.

An Important Part of Personalized Cancer Treatment

Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) is an important tool in our work in Precision Oncology, which includes 6 key steps of Personalized Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment:

  1. Enhanced Imaging Techniques (PET/CT)
  2. Detailed Genetic Testing: Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) and Foundation One
  3. Personalized Nutraceutical Diets
  4. Personalized Genetic Research
  5. Targeted Cancer Therapy
  6. Innovative Surgical, Radiation, and Chemotherapy Techniques

These 6 key steps of Precision Oncology ensure that you are getting the best treatment available worldwide for your cancer, leading to reduced treatment side-effects and better treatment outcomes than standard treatment.

Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA), In Summary:

The benefits of Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA / cfDNA) testing include:

  • Uses easily obtained blood samples to look for tumour DNA;
  • Has a better ability to identify the genetic variation in all of your tumours at the same time;
  • Allows us to track individual mutations to see what drugs are working;
  • Allows us to track individual mutations to see what drugs are not working;
  • We can use it to monitor you during remission in order to catch any potential recurrence before any visible signs of tumour are present. This means your cancer, should it return, would be much easier to treat;
  • Ability to identify new mutations that may drive the recurrence of tumours;
  • Inexpensive and fast analysis.

Click here to see some of the more common liquid biopsy tests and how they can be used in the clinical setting 

Know You Are Doing All You Can

Our sole purpose for existing is to ensure that you have all the information you need to feel confident you’re getting the best possible treatment for your form of cancer. Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) is a powerful tool in our arsenal and yours.

Contact us today to ask any questions you might have about how Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) can benefit you. If you’d like to have the Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) test performed, we can arrange your test within the week and have your results back in a matter of a few days.

 

*P.S. – Hello out there. It’s Michelle here – I’d just like to say ‘I’m sorry’ for the (likely) annoying repeat of the 3 terms Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA, cfDNA) throughout this page of information.

The term ctDNA refers to circulating tumour DNA found in the blood. However, blood contains DNA from other cells such as leukocytes, so cfDNA refers to any DNA (including tumour DNA) that is found in the blood, while ctDNA is specific to the DNA from tumours.