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CTC study is detecting lung cancer early
26 April 2017
A study coordinated by the CRUK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre has been successful in detecting recurring lung cancers up to a year earlier than current methods allow. 

TRACERx, which has been open in the UK since 2014, is so far showing a 92% success rate in predicting the return of lung cancer in patients once the tissue from their original tumour has been subjected to DNA analysis.
The study, which reported its findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday, involves sequencing DNA from a patient's tumour to create a genetic template of the cancer particular to each individual. The patient then returns for regular tests, at which point the presence of any mutated DNA in the blood can be used to indicate a potential relapse. 

The article focused on 96 patients who had been been recruited to the study (a total now over 500). Of these, TRACERx had managed to detect early signs of recurrence in 13 of the 14 individuals whose cancer returned.

Separate results reported on the same day in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) presented genomic data for the first 100 patients on the study. The data showed unstable chromosomes to be the predominant driver behind genetic diversity within tumours. Tumours with greater genetic diversity are associated with shorter relapse-free survival.

Senior Trial Coordinator Yenting Ngai remarked: ‘The results from TRACERx are very exciting in providing an insight into the way a cancer evolves over time. This detailed analysis could allow for a more personalised approach to treatment.

‘Equally remarkable is the ability to detect cancer by a blood sample before detection by traditional methods. Our ultimate aim is to recruit over 840 patients to TRACERx: this will allow us to build on these very promising initial results.’

The results have garnered international press attention (BBC, ABC, Guardian, Telegraph). You can read the article in Nature here, and in the New England Journal of Medicine here

TRACERx is continuing to recruit patients at sites across the UK. 
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