Bone marrow biopsies are the gold standard for diagnosing and monitoring the progression of multiple myeloma, but these procedures are far too invasive to perform at every patient visit. Scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, however, have shown that two ways to measure multiple myeloma DNA in blood samples provide highly detailed sets of genetic information that agree well not just with each other but with results from bone marrow tests.
“Until now, we haven’t had a good way to measure how multiple myeloma cell populations evolve from precursor stages to diagnosed disease, and then respond to treatments, says Irene Ghobrial, MD, a Dana-Farber medical oncologist. “This is where blood biopsies can make a huge difference–extending our understanding of multiple myeloma, and really giving us a timeline of how the disease progresses and responds to therapy.”
The collaborative research examined blood biopsies that gathered multiple myeloma tumor DNA from two sources. One is circulating free DNA (cfDNA), scraps of DNA released into the bloodstream by dying cells. The other is circulating tumor cells (CTCs)–myeloma cells themselves.
“Our discovery that cfDNA and CTC analyses agree with each other at the comprehensive level
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