A study revealed that a new blood test had been proven to detect the early signs that prostate cancer will resist treatment. The liquid biopsy test is opening ways for developing more tests that will help analyze whole tumor cells circulating in the blood to provide details about the tumor’s genetic make-up. It is perceived that in future, the new blood test will be of help in detecting when drugs are failing. This way, doctors will be able to offer alternative treatments or drug combinations to patients with advanced prostate cancer. The test could also help to plan treatments in other cancers.
In a study:
- Researchers analyzed whole tumor cell samples from the blood of advanced prostate cancer patients. Using a method called apheresis, the blood was passed through a machine for extracting specific constituents of the blood.
- The researchers managed to take 75 more of the circulating blood cells from the samples, something that was never achieved before. About 12,500 cancer cells were extracted from the 60ml apheresis sample, contrary to the 167 cancer cells per 7.5 ml through the traditional methods.
- To confirm the precision of the test, the researchers compared the generic characteristic weighed from circulating the tumor cells with the tumor sample analysis from the traditional biopsies. It was found that the picture taken from the circulating tumor cell analysis was similar to the activities in the tumors, either within the tumors or the other sites the tumor had spread to.
- The study encourages the development of more tests that will help to analyze circulating tumor cells as a measure of the process of cancer development. The development of alternative liquid biopsies is underway to help measure the circulating tumor DNA in the blood instead of the circulating cells.
More advanced studies are needed to confirm the number of tumor cells needed for analysis and reduce procedural costs. Research can also help to study the possibility of the new blood tests effectiveness in people with other types of cancer and those with less advanced disease.