Liquid Biopsy for Lung Cancer Provides Rapid Results at Low
Lung cancers tend to develop rapidly, changing how they respond to medication in unexpected ways. This makes it hard to decide which treatments are most effective without trying them first, resulting in lost time and missed opportunities. Biopsies and CT scans are the most commonly used methods of evaluating whether a treatment is working. Biopsies are invasive and can only be done infrequently, while CT scans offer limited information and expose the patient to X-ray radiation.

A team headed by researchers from Stanford University have now developed a technique for capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and performing molecular analysis on them to figure out how they are mutating in response to treatment. Since CTCs are sourced from the actual tumors, they carry with them essentially the same information that a biopsy can offer. Being able to isolate CTCs within a sample of blood provides a much less invasive “liquid biopsy” option that can be performed frequently without much trauma for the patient....