Traditionally, physicians treating patients with advanced lung cancer have used a tissue biopsy to determine individual courses of treatment. Now, however, research has revealed that a non-invasive liquid biopsy procedure could be more effective in identifying genetic mutations of clinical relevance.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center have found that liquid biopsies identified mutations that matched those found in more conventional genome sequencing tissue biopsy tests. The same liquid biopsies also found mutations that other tests failed to identify in later tests.
In addition, liquid biopsies offer the advantage of being obtainable even in cases of metastases. In such instances, physicians must often rely on less precise blood testing, as tissue sampling becomes impossible. This means that treatment teams may be able to identify drug-resistant disease development using non-invasive methods, a combination of benefits that aligns with current priorities in cancer research.