A Faster Way to Monitor Metastatic Cancer

Massimo Cristofanilli, MD

Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli

So called “liquid biopsies” are simple blood tests that detect the severity of cancer that has spread from primary tumors. The test is approved for use in breast, colon and prostate cancers and helps doctors watch the cancer as it changes and becomes resistant to therapy.

Doctors can use the information from this blood test to provide new treatments as soon as old treatments fail, rather than waiting for the tumor to regrow. The tests cost less and are less invasive than traditional tissue biopsies.

Medical oncologist Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center recently spoke with HemOnc Today about this new diagnostic test for metastatic cancer.

“Liquid biopsies consisting of either circulating tumor cell-associated biomarkers or circulating tumor DNA both can give extensive information about the biology of the disease. Particularly in advanced disease, they can help monitor response to therapy by assessing changes in genomic abnormalities or even potentially help in selecting molecular treatments. This is a real-time assessment of the disease biology that can be repeated in a longitudinal way,” said Dr. Cristofanilli.

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