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      Analysis of Circulating Tumor DNA to Monitor Metastatic Breast Cancer

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          Abstract

          The management of metastatic breast cancer requires monitoring of the tumor burden to determine the response to treatment, and improved biomarkers are needed. Biomarkers such as cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) and circulating tumor cells have been widely studied. However, circulating cell-free DNA carrying tumor-specific alterations (circulating tumor DNA) has not been extensively investigated or compared with other circulating biomarkers in breast cancer. We compared the radiographic imaging of tumors with the assay of circulating tumor DNA, CA 15-3, and circulating tumor cells in 30 women with metastatic breast cancer who were receiving systemic therapy. We used targeted or whole-genome sequencing to identify somatic genomic alterations and designed personalized assays to quantify circulating tumor DNA in serially collected plasma specimens. CA 15-3 levels and numbers of circulating tumor cells were measured at identical time points. Circulating tumor DNA was successfully detected in 29 of the 30 women (97%) in whom somatic genomic alterations were identified; CA 15-3 and circulating tumor cells were detected in 21 of 27 women (78%) and 26 of 30 women (87%), respectively. Circulating tumor DNA levels showed a greater dynamic range, and greater correlation with changes in tumor burden, than did CA 15-3 or circulating tumor cells. Among the measures tested, circulating tumor DNA provided the earliest measure of treatment response in 10 of 19 women (53%). This proof-of-concept analysis showed that circulating tumor DNA is an informative, inherently specific, and highly sensitive biomarker of metastatic breast cancer. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others.).

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          Most cited references 39

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          New response evaluation criteria in solid tumours: revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1).

          Assessment of the change in tumour burden is an important feature of the clinical evaluation of cancer therapeutics: both tumour shrinkage (objective response) and disease progression are useful endpoints in clinical trials. Since RECIST was published in 2000, many investigators, cooperative groups, industry and government authorities have adopted these criteria in the assessment of treatment outcomes. However, a number of questions and issues have arisen which have led to the development of a revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1). Evidence for changes, summarised in separate papers in this special issue, has come from assessment of a large data warehouse (>6500 patients), simulation studies and literature reviews. HIGHLIGHTS OF REVISED RECIST 1.1: Major changes include: Number of lesions to be assessed: based on evidence from numerous trial databases merged into a data warehouse for analysis purposes, the number of lesions required to assess tumour burden for response determination has been reduced from a maximum of 10 to a maximum of five total (and from five to two per organ, maximum). Assessment of pathological lymph nodes is now incorporated: nodes with a short axis of 15 mm are considered measurable and assessable as target lesions. The short axis measurement should be included in the sum of lesions in calculation of tumour response. Nodes that shrink to <10mm short axis are considered normal. Confirmation of response is required for trials with response primary endpoint but is no longer required in randomised studies since the control arm serves as appropriate means of interpretation of data. Disease progression is clarified in several aspects: in addition to the previous definition of progression in target disease of 20% increase in sum, a 5mm absolute increase is now required as well to guard against over calling PD when the total sum is very small. Furthermore, there is guidance offered on what constitutes 'unequivocal progression' of non-measurable/non-target disease, a source of confusion in the original RECIST guideline. Finally, a section on detection of new lesions, including the interpretation of FDG-PET scan assessment is included. Imaging guidance: the revised RECIST includes a new imaging appendix with updated recommendations on the optimal anatomical assessment of lesions. A key question considered by the RECIST Working Group in developing RECIST 1.1 was whether it was appropriate to move from anatomic unidimensional assessment of tumour burden to either volumetric anatomical assessment or to functional assessment with PET or MRI. It was concluded that, at present, there is not sufficient standardisation or evidence to abandon anatomical assessment of tumour burden. The only exception to this is in the use of FDG-PET imaging as an adjunct to determination of progression. As is detailed in the final paper in this special issue, the use of these promising newer approaches requires appropriate clinical validation studies.
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            Estimates of worldwide burden of cancer in 2008: GLOBOCAN 2008.

            Estimates of the worldwide incidence and mortality from 27 cancers in 2008 have been prepared for 182 countries as part of the GLOBOCAN series published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In this article, we present the results for 20 world regions, summarizing the global patterns for the eight most common cancers. Overall, an estimated 12.7 million new cancer cases and 7.6 million cancer deaths occur in 2008, with 56% of new cancer cases and 63% of the cancer deaths occurring in the less developed regions of the world. The most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide are lung (1.61 million, 12.7% of the total), breast (1.38 million, 10.9%) and colorectal cancers (1.23 million, 9.7%). The most common causes of cancer death are lung cancer (1.38 million, 18.2% of the total), stomach cancer (738,000 deaths, 9.7%) and liver cancer (696,000 deaths, 9.2%). Cancer is neither rare anywhere in the world, nor mainly confined to high-resource countries. Striking differences in the patterns of cancer from region to region are observed. Copyright © 2010 UICC.
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              Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumors

              Summary We analyzed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, mRNA arrays, microRNA sequencing and reverse phase protein arrays. Our ability to integrate information across platforms provided key insights into previously-defined gene expression subtypes and demonstrated the existence of four main breast cancer classes when combining data from five platforms, each of which shows significant molecular heterogeneity. Somatic mutations in only three genes (TP53, PIK3CA and GATA3) occurred at > 10% incidence across all breast cancers; however, there were numerous subtype-associated and novel gene mutations including the enrichment of specific mutations in GATA3, PIK3CA and MAP3K1 with the Luminal A subtype. We identified two novel protein expression-defined subgroups, possibly contributed by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signaling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/p-HER2/HER1/p-HER1 signature within the HER2-Enriched expression subtype. Comparison of Basal-like breast tumors with high-grade Serous Ovarian tumors showed many molecular commonalities, suggesting a related etiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biologic finding of the four main breast cancer subtypes caused by different subsets of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities raises the hypothesis that much of the clinically observable plasticity and heterogeneity occurs within, and not across, these major biologic subtypes of breast cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                March 28 2013
                March 28 2013
                : 368
                : 13
                : 1199-1209
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1213261
                23484797
                © 2013
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