During the 2018 Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) Annual Meeting held last November, Dr. Lucci shared how he used the Oncomine cell-free DNA (cfDNA) workflow for studying lung, breast, and colon cancer patients. Many MD Anderson patients have already agreed to broader monitoring in studies using the Oncomine™ Pan-Cancer Cell-Free Assay, a 52-gene panel because of its ability to identify a broader range of hot spots, gene fusions, MET exon skipping, copy number genes (CNVs), and tumor suppression genes. There is potential in the research and discovery work to impact future targeted therapies and understanding of mutations.
There are several factors where optimizing liquid biopsy assays may improve cancer treatment and patient care. Dr. Lucci’s work creates a strong foundation for the future potential of liquid biopsy assays to improve care, outcomes, and cost effectiveness. The utilization of liquid biopsy assays in his research and clinical practice enabled Dr. Lucci to demonstrate the following:
- There is adequate cfDNA extracted in earlier stage cancer patients (Stages I – III), allowing for improved survival rates and the potential for more treatment options;
- Using standardized liquid biopsy kits, such as the Oncomine cfDNA Assays, allows for standardized results, which is important in research studies;
- Using cfDNA liquid biopsy vs. traditional imaging (CT and PET scanning) is more cost effective and less painful for patients; and
- cfDNA can potentially be used to serially monitor patients, which then allows for timelier and more cost-effective monitoring of response to treatment as well.
Dr. Lucci is hopeful the use of liquid biopsies will enable improved monitoring of patients from a patient experience, cost effective, and more relevant and timely data to being able to better target cancer therapy, once the technology allows for that.
Cost Comparison and Time to Treatment: Liquid Biopsy vs. Traditional Treatment Biopsy1
Comparison of Routine Monitoring vs. Oncomine cfDNA Testing for Typical 8 Months’ Duration2
There are many potential benefits in using liquid biopsy for cancer patients. Liquid biopsy may enable precision medicine in cancer treatment, as described here by Dr. Lucci’s work and others. From a patient perspective, the benefits may be significant: less painful and invasive, less expensive, earlier diagnosis, ongoing and timely monitoring, all of which may enable improved therapy targeting and better outcomes. The future benefits of improved therapy targeting are early in clinical practice, but the potential implications of improved outcomes may provide significant impact in overall cancer care.
 Based on Dr. Lucci’s estimates and experience at MD Anderson Cancer Center
 Based on Dr. Lucci’s estimates from current practice recommendations and typical reimbursement, with his estimate of an applied liquid assay treatment protocol during a comparable treatment timeframe of 8 months