Tumor DNA in Blood Used to Detect Many Early-stage Ovarian and Other Cancers in Study

Tumor DNA in Blood Used to Detect Many Early-stage Ovarian and Other Cancers in Study
Using a modern DNA sequencing technique, Johns Hopkins researchers have come one step closer to diagnosing early-stage cancer patients with a simple blood draw. The method reads free circulating DNA in a patient's blood and detects common cancer mutations. While further refinement is needed, it was able to identify three out of every five people with early-stage colorectal, ovarian, breast or lung cancer. The study, "Direct detection of early-stage cancers using circulating tumor DNA,” published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, describes the noninvasive approach that may also help doctors in choosing appropriate and timely treatments for these patients. All cancers begin when one or more genes in a cell mutate, allowing the cell to proliferate excessively and to escape controls intended to kill abnormal cells. Identifying these early genetic changes could help to identify people as cancer starts to spread and the best therapeutic options for each of them. Previous studies have shown that DNA from tumors cells can be detected in the blood stream. Now, a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center devised a strategy to see if they could detect circulating DNA marking early tumors. The researchers analyzed blood samples from 44 healthy people and 200 patients with different types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, and at different disease stages. The technique they used is called targeted "error correction sequencing" and is a method for "deep" DNA sequencing. This approach allows researchers to read a DNA sequence thousands of time,  greatly im
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