Pancreatic cancer tumors spill their molecular secrets into the bloodstream, shedding their complete DNA and RNA wrapped inside protective lipid particles that make them ripe for analysis with a liquid biopsy, MD Anderson researchers report online at the Annals of Oncology.
The team analyzed tumors in three patients, using DNA and RNA found inside exosomes circulating in their blood or other liquid biospecimens. The proof of principle study opens the door to validation studies in multiple tumor types of a liquid biopsy that could be used to determine prognosis, guide targeted therapy and monitor treatment.
"Tumors continuously evolve during therapy," says Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S, professor of Pathology, scientific director of MD Anderson's Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research and co-leader of the Pancreatic Cancer Moon Shot. He also holds the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair. "Now you can bypass the need for tissue and get the full genome, exome and transcriptome from a vial of blood."
This research was funded by MD Anderson's Pancreatic Cancer Moon Shot, the Sheikh Ahmed Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, the National Cancer Institute, the Translational Molecular Pathology Fellowship at MD Anderson and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.