An international team today reports the findings of an independent assessment of five commercially-available assays for tumor DNA sequencing – a fast, cheap and less invasive method to diagnose and monitor cancer.
The researchers revealed that all assays could reliably detect so-called circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) when it made up 0.5% of the total DNA in blood, a level of sensitivity that allows detection, genetic analysis and monitoring of late-stage and metastatic tumors.
Published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the study is a major milestone for the use of ctDNA assays as cancer diagnostics, outlining best-practice guidelines and uncovering key areas of future development.
“Our findings indicate that the participating ctDNA assays may be suitable for molecular stratification and profiling tumor evolution in advanced cancer patients. This should help clear a path for more advanced clinical trials of ctDNA assays,” said Donald Johann Jr., M.D., associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine departments of Biomedical Informatics and Internal Medicine.