|August 2018 Research Update
Liquid Biopsy Reveals Promising Biomarkers for Rectal and Brain Cancer Patients
During the recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting (AACR 2018), two research groups presented poster data on the potential diagnostic use of liquid biopsy in rectal cancer (1) and brain cancer (2). One group of researchers used total RNA extracted from blood of rectal cancer patients to improve the accuracy of treatment outcomes, and a second group used cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of brain cancer patients to identify biomarkers that would improve diagnosis and treatment potential.
The standard treatment for advanced rectal cancer starts with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) with fluoropyrimidines. CRT can provide several patient benefits, including tumor mass reduction, blocking tumor invasion, increasing the tumor resection rate and anus retention rate, and reducing the local cancer recurrence rate. Interestingly, some patients obtain large reductions in tumor burden from CRT alone, with as many as 15-20% of patients even showing complete reduction. After a period of 4-5 weeks, chemo is followed by radical surgical resection of the tumor bearing tissue. This surgery can vary significantly depending on the exact location of the tumor relative to the anus, size, and invasiveness.
Typically, prior to surgery, the rectal cancer is re-staged in terms of its appearance or severity. Restaging aids in predicting the likelihood of recurrence of rectal cancer following surgical resection, and it uses a classifying system based on tumor regression grade (TRG)...