MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alison L. Allan, PhD
Department of Oncology, Western University
London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre
London, Ontario, Canada
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: This was an international collaborative study between Lawson Health Research Institute (London, ON), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York), the Royal Marsden (London, UK) and molecular diagnostics company Epic Sciences (San Diego, CA). The study used a liquid biopsy test developed by Epic Sciences that examines circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer who are deciding whether to switch from hormone-targeting therapy to chemotherapy. CTCs are cancer cells that leave a tumour, enter the blood stream and invade other parts of the body, causing the spread of cancer. The test identifies whether or not a patient’s CTCs contain a protein in the nucleus called AR-V7. The research team set out to determine whether the presence of this protein predicted which treatment would best prolong a patient’s life.
They found that patients who tested positive for the protein responded best to taxane-based chemotherapy while those who tested negative for the protein responded best to hormone-targeting therapy with drugs called androgen-receptor signaling (ARS) inhibitors. These are the two most widely used drug classes to treat advanced prostate cancer.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This is the first CTC blood test that can be used to predict how patients with advanced prostate cancer will respond to specific treatments, leading to improved survival.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The Lawson research team plans to collaborate further with Epic Sciences to evaluate different versions of the CTC blood test for other types of cancer, such as lung cancer.
Scher HI, Graf RP, Schreiber NA, et al. Assessment of the Validity of Nuclear-Localized Androgen Receptor Splice Variant 7 in Circulating Tumor Cells as a Predictive Biomarker for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. JAMA Oncol. Published online June 28, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.1621
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