A blood test that looks at DNA shed by tumours can be used to track the real-time progress of cancer, a study has shown.
Scientists evaluated the test by comparing it with analysis of biopsy samples taken from a breast cancer patient over three years.
The results showed that the DNA in the blood samples matched that from the biopsies, revealing the same patterns of genetic changes.
“The findings could change the way we monitor patients, and may be especially important for people with cancers that are difficult to reach, as taking a biopsy can sometimes be quite an invasive procedure.
“We were able to use the blood tests to map out the disease as it progressed. We now need to see if this works in more patients and other cancer types, but this is an exciting first step.”
The patient in the study had breast cancer that had already spread to a number of other organs.
By studying her tumour DNA, the scientists were able to distinguish between different secondary cancers and track how well they were responding to treatment.
Source: Yahoo News