Liquid biopsies, that is the process of looking for cancer biomarkers in blood, are part of the ongoing research into detecting cancer in its early stages as well as determining the best treatment options based on circulating DNA and tumor cells. Now, it's becoming a reality that liquid biopsies could be used to find out why a specific treatment isn't working as expected in any given patient. As cancer treatment moves to more targeted methods of finding specifically tailored options for each tumor and each individual patient, the liquid biopsy can be a way to understand treatment resistance in some cancers.
A study by researchers at Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA has shown that using liquid biopsies throughout treatment for gastrointestinal cancer can be a way to track the progress of treatment and see its effect on DNA. Mutations in certain genes can be found with continued testing that otherwise would not have been found in traditional tissue biopsies. When a clearer picture of the genetics of certain tumors is presented, doctors can tailor treatments to those genetics, taking into account any mutations and altering the treatment to go after those specifics.