John Hopkins Researchers Develop New Diagnostic Blood Test To Identify Gastric Cancer Recurrence
Medical and oncology researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, working with colleagues in the Netherlands, have developed a new ultrasensitive blood test
that can predict recurrence
of gastric cancer
in patients after surgery. A description of their test, which is still experimental, was published online in the journal Nature Communications
The medical investigators analyzed blood samples from 50 patients with gastric cancer
who participated in the CRITICS trial, a phase III, randomized controlled study of chemotherapy given at about the time of surgery. They performed deep sequencing of both circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and of white blood cells to look for mutations. Subtracting the white blood cells' information from cfDNA yielded data that investigators said could be used to predict cancer recurrence
within nine weeks following preoperative treatment and surgery.
Senior study author Dr Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of oncology, pathology and medicine at John Hopkins told Thailand Medical
News via a phone interview, "We performed this study to see if we could predict whether gastric cancers
would recur using noninvasive liquid biopsies
. Using a deep sequencing approach of cell-free DNA and white blood cells, we found an outstanding prediction of whether the therapy was successful."
Dr Velculescu also is co-director of the Kimmel Cancer Center's cancer
genetics and epigenetics program, and associate director for precision medicine.
Dr Alessandro Leal, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the paper on the study and former graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says, "Patients who did not have mutations in the blood after surgery were all cured of cancer,
while patients who had mutations in the blood typically recurred. We were able to predict patient outcome about nine months earlier through the blood test
than we otherwise could have through clinical evaluation."
Reference : Alessandro Leal et al. White blood cell and cell-free DNA analyses for detection of residual disease in gastric cancer, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14310-3