Tumor DNA Fragments Can Help Predict Ovarian Cancer Outcome

December 22, 2016 | By admin

A new study investigated the levels of specific DNA fragments in the blood of ovarian cancer patients. The findings could eventually lead to a blood test that can make accurate predictions about tumor size and disease progression.  Treatment and progression of HGSOC are gauged by measuring levels of a protein called CA-125. However, after one or two treatment cycles, the levels do not change quickly enough. This makes results difficult to interpret. Also, CA-125 can be expressed by normal tissue, making false readings a further concern.
Researchers from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute recently set out to investigate another molecule that might act as a more responsive marker. A team of scientists, led by Nitzan Rosenfeld and James Brenton, published their findings this week in PLOS Medicine.  To investigate DNA fragments further, Rosenfeld and Brenton concentrated specifically on levels of ctDNA that carried mutations in the gene TP53. These mutations can be found in 99 percent of patients with HGSOC.  The team took 318 blood samples from 40 HGSOC patients before, during, and after treatment. Alongside these analyses, computerized tomography (CT) scans of tumors and information on the progression of the cancer were also noted.  In patients being treated for a relapse, a decrease of 60 percent or less in TP53MAF was associated with a weaker response to chemotherapy and a time to progression of under 6 months. A decrease in levels of more than 60 percent was associated with a longer time to progression.