Leicester academic leads international research study into potential new biomarker for breast cancer

An academic from our University is leading an international collaborative research study, funded by Cancer Research UK, which uses recently launched technology to evaluate a potential new biomarker for prediction of disease progression in women with breast cancer.

The Longitudinal Circulating Tumour DNA Study in Breast Cancer is in being carried out in collaboration with academics from Imperial College London and Natera- a global leader in cell-free DNA testing.

The study will be using Natera’s Signatera™ (RUO) recently launched personalised circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) technology. Signatera™ (RUO) differs from currently available liquid biopsy technology, which tests for a generic panel of genes independent of an individual’s tumour. It provides a customised blood test tailored to match the mutations found in each individual’s tumour tissue, which maximises sensitivity and specificity. It will be used to evaluate the utility of ctDNA analysis for the early detection of breast cancer recurrence.

The collaborators will evaluate ctDNA levels in breast cancer patients who have completed chemotherapy and are at risk for disease recurrence. The primary objective of the study is to determine the sensitivity, specificity, lead time, and utility of ctDNA analysis for the early detection of breast cancer recurrence. The study results are expected to read out in 2018.

Professor Shaw, from our Department of Cancer Studies, said: “We believe circulating tumor DNA may provide a meaningful guide to predict disease progression before scans for patients with breast cancer. We are pleased to partner with Natera to explore this exciting new biomarker.”