Tags: blood | test | cancer | chemo

Blood Test May Let Some Cancer Patients Skip Chemo

gloved hand holding tube of blood

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By    |   Friday, 19 October 2018 09:28 AM

A blood test following cancer surgery may soon be able to tell patients if they can skip chemo and avoid its side effects, joint U.S.-Australian research revealed on Wednesday.

Currently, there is no reliable way to tell if cancer has lingered after a patient has undergone surgical treatment, which is why they still have to receive chemotherapy as a precautionary method.

Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Maryland believe chemotherapy is unnecessary in many cases. They are now conducting clinical trials at more than 40 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand to see if a simple blood test could determine if a post-op cancer patient still needed chemotherapy.

The clinical trials are based upon the “circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) test,” which looks for fragments of tumor DNA in a patient’s blood once a tumor has been surgically removed.

The trial seeks to determine whether the amount of ctDNA in a patient’s blood indicates their risk of relapse.

The test could also help to establish what dose of treatment a patient required should they need chemotherapy.

“While chemotherapy is an essential, life-saving treatment, we don’t want patients receiving it if they don’t need it,” said the trial lead Jeanne Tie, a clinician scientist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and a medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centreand Western Health.

She said the goal was to help patients avoid the serious and ongoing side-effects associated with chemotherapy.

According to the American Cancer Society, common short-term side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, hair loss, easy bruising and bleeding, anemia, nausea and vomiting as well as mouth, tongue, and throat sores and nerve and muscle problems.

The long-term effects could include heart, lung, nerve and memory problems, and fertility issues.

“We would like to be able to tell some patients that they can safely avoid chemotherapy because their cancer is unlikely to recur,” said Tie. “For patients who are at a high risk of recurrence, we want to be able to give them a more intensive dose of chemotherapy than those with a lower risk of recurrence.”

An American team of researchers in Philadelphia have also been looking in to ctDNA testing and how it can be used in cancer treatment.

They recently announced that the blood tests could more accurately identify cancer mutations than solid tissue biopsies.

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A blood test following cancer surgery may soon be able to tell patients if they can skip chemo and avoid its side effects, joint U.S.-Australian research revealed on Wednesday.
blood, test, cancer, chemo
399
2018-28-19
Friday, 19 October 2018 09:28 AM
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