|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 863-864
Expanding opportunities in precision oncology
Department of Medical Oncology, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||28-Oct-2020|
|Date of Decision||09-Dec-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||09-Dec-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||25-Dec-2020|
Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Raja T. Expanding opportunities in precision oncology. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:863-4
Liquid biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that can circumvent the challenges of surgical and core biopsies. It plays a supportive role in situations that require serial monitoring, especially when a tissue biopsy is not possible. The liquid biopsy also offers us the unique advantage of the ease of collection and analysis of different types of bodily fluids. Tumors such as non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are generally heterogeneous and comprise various subclones. Some subclones outgrow the others due to therapeutic stress caused, especially by the targeted drugs, which can cause changes in the tumor microenvironment leading to disease progression/metastasis. These changes can dynamically modify the genomic landscape of the tumor. One of the advantages of liquid biopsies is that it better represents the genomic heterogeneity of the tumors.,,,
However, the liquid biopsy also has certain limitations. The detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) requires highly sensitive techniques as traditional techniques such as Sanger sequencing and pyrosequencing cannot be used because of the low fraction and high fragmentation rates of ctDNA. The lack of availability of these highly sensitive tests in the laboratories poses a practical challenge. Further, liquid biopsy requires highly specialized and specific sample processing and handling and does not provide information about the tumor histology or morphological changes like small cell lung cancer transformation, which is one of the acquired epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance mechanisms.,,,
The usefulness of ctDNA mutation analysis translating into a noninvasive approach for the detection of targetable mutations causing resistance to therapy is a welcome advance. In a study of patients with lung cancer by Rijavec et al., the analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) showed the appearance of the T790M EGFR mutation following gefitinib treatment, supporting the hypothesis of treatment-related selective pressure. Following this, Thress et al. analyzed the cfDNA from 15 patients harboring the EGFR T790M mutation and identified the C797S EGFR mutation as a novel acquired resistance mechanism to AZD9291.,,
In the last issue of the Journal, through their commendable study, Chougule et al., have shown that the concordance for mutation detection of the formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue samples with plasma was 64% and that with the other bodily fluids was 100%. More hearteningly, it was possible to detect the exon 20 T790M resistance mutation in the plasma and other bodily fluids at progression. This highlights the increasing number of various applications of liquid biopsy in the diagnosis and treatment decision-making of patients with NSCLC. Moreover, the minimally invasive nature and the low cost of liquid biopsy allow for repeated testing, making it a very useful tool in clinical practice.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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