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Saturday, November 7, 2015

DNA in blood can track cancer development and response in real time

Over three years, researchers at the University of Cambridge took surgical tumor samples (biopsies) and blood samples from a patient with ER-positive and HER2-positive breast cancer that had already spread to other parts of her body.
They carefully studied small fragments of DNA from dying tumor cells that are shed into the blood, comparing them with DNA from the biopsy that was taken at the same point in time.
The results show that the DNA in the blood samples matched up with that from the biopsies, reflecting the same pattern and timing of genetic changes appearing as the cancer developed and responded to treatment.