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Blood tests can provide fuller picture of mutations in cancer than traditional biopsies do
Date:4/6/2013

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Demetri and his colleagues compared whether BEAMing technology or traditional tissue analysis was better at picking up "secondary" resistance mutations in the gene for KIT abnormalities that emerged after the disease had become resistant to imatinib and sunitinib. The BEAMing technology proved far superior, finding such mutations in 48 percent of the blood samples, compared to only 12 percent found in tissue samples using traditional methods. Moreover, nearly half of the blood samples with secondary KIT mutations were found to have not just one such mutation, but several.

The results of the regorafenib trial and the BEAMing technology study underscore the value of knowing all the cancer-related mutations within a group of tumors and of having agents that target precisely those mutations, Demetri says.

"Older tools failed to show the breadth and depth of the cancer genomes in any single patient, and this can lead to failure in the process of choosing and evaluating new therapies for patients," Demetri remarked. "A comprehensive approach to detecting and understanding the impact of different mutations in cancer within each individual patient has before now been impractical, but with this new blood test, we hope to make it easy to integrate it into research trials as well as, eventually, into routine clinical practice to make cancer care more precise and personalized to the needs of each patient."


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Contact: Teresa Herbert
teresa_herbert@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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