Blood test reveals women’s response to breast cancer treatment

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blood cells redBREAST tumour DNA circulating in the bloodstream could be used to measure how well a woman’s cancer is responding to treatment, according to a new Cancer Research UK study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute at the University of Cambridge took regular blood samples from 30 women with advanced breast cancer that had spread.

They used three biomarkers – circulating tumour DNA, levels of a protein called Cancer Antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) and free-floating tumour cells – which can measure how advanced the disease is.

The researchers compared these results with CT scans to see if changes in the biomarkers matched up with changes in the cancer.

They found that, out of the three biomarkers, tumour DNA in women’s blood gave the most accurate ‘real time’ picture of changes taking place in the body.

Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and co-lead author of the study, said: “This study offers a practical application of cancer genomics and highlights the potential of personalised cancer medicine. By understanding the point at which a cancer changes we can select the most effective treatments and minimise side effects for patients…Read more




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