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Blood test can predict relapse in early breast cancer by tracking mutation in circulating tumor DNA


Scientists have invented a new blood test that would allow doctors to comprehend genetic makeup of tumors and select the best treatment based on that. The scientists coming up with this revolutionary test are representatives for the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

The new blood test is capable of detecting the few residual cancer cells that managed to resist therapy. It does so by checking the patient’s bloodstream for tumor DNA. The test not only eliminates the need of invasive biopsies but due to its ability of picking up key mutations, it will also be able to customize treatment for the particular genetic makeup of the breast cancer.

According to the researcher, the discovery of this blood test marks an extremely important step towards utilization of liquid biopsies for revolutionizing breast cancer treatment and care. They feel this new method will change the way cancer gets monitored and will assist doctors to pick the best treatments for the condition.

The chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research Prof. Paul Workman said that soon a time will come when cancer patients will be treated with personalized medicines. According to him, this newly developed blood test will assist doctors in staying a step ahead of cancer by allowing them to monitor the way the disease is changing and pick treatments capable of exploiting weaknesses of a particular tumor.


Prof. Workman feels that researches like this also allow doctors and other experts to understand better the procedures adopted by cancer for evading treatments. This knowledge, according to Prof. Workman, can be of great help when designing new cancer drugs.


Statistics suggest that breast cancer is the most common cancer type found in women in the United Kingdom. The nation gets almost 50,000 cases of the condition every year, out of which 12,000 lead to deaths.

During the study leading to the development of this new blood test, researchers collected blood and tumor samples from 55 women with breast cancer. Each of these patients was in the early stage of the disease and had undergone chemotherapy and surgery, which potentially cured them of cancer.

The researchers monitored the patients using blood tests, first after the surgery and then once in every six months. The test results allowed them to predict which women will be suffering a relapse.

SOURCEScience Translational Medicine
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