Blood test could quickly predict if the drug palbociclib will help breast cancer patients
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A new study has found a blood test for cancer DNA could predict if a woman is responding to the new breast cancer drug palbociclib, months earlier than current tests.

Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, say the test could detect in two to three weeks whether the drug is working, although they caution the results need replicating before they are used clinically.

The research, published today in the journal Nature Communications, was largely funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The researchers tested women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer – the most common kind – who were taking part in a clinical trial of palbociclib for advanced breast cancer.

In November 2017, palbociclib was approved for use on the NHS by NICE for women with previously untreated advanced breast cancer.*

Currently, women must wait two to three months to find out, using a scan, if palbociclib is working.

The new blood test instead looks for circulating tumour DNA – fragments of DNA shed by the cancer that have entered the bloodstream. The DNA mutations associated with the cancer can be detected in these samples.

The researchers found that

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