Normally when a patient is diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, which is very aggressive, a surgical biopsy needs to be done to determine the extent of disease. The problem is that these surgeries are difficult and often don't get much tissue, so accuracy is affected. A new blood test developed at the University of Manchester in collaboration with Cancer Research UK could be a better option for predicting how patients will respond to treatment.
The research team looked at 31 blood samples of SCLC patients and analyzed the circulating tumor cells. They found that patterns of genetic faults measured before treatment were linked to how well and how long a patient might respond to chemotherapy. Circulating tumor cells were also analyzed from patients who relapsed in order to get a better idea of the likelihood of drug resistance.