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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Liquid biopsy can help guide cancer treatment

When most cancers spreads from its authentic location to different components of the physique, it has metastasized. Central nervous system metastases happen when most cancers cells unfold from their authentic website to the mind and spinal wire.

Any most cancers can unfold to the central nervous system, however the sorts almost certainly to trigger such metastases are lung, breast, colon and kidney cancers, and melanoma.

Remedy for mind and spinal wire metastases might help ease signs, sluggish tumor progress and lengthen life. 

To find out which therapy would possibly work greatest for an individual’s tumor kind, some well being care professionals now use liquid biopsies. When a metastatic tumor is in a spot within the physique that can not be reached by means of surgical procedure for a tissue biopsy, liquid biopsies are particularly useful.

A liquid biopsy entails gathering fluid and analyzing it for tumor biomarkers that may assist well being care professionals decide the tumor’s molecular construction and individualize therapy for one of the best end result.

“So we’ve glorious medication for various most cancers sorts which can be actually primarily based off of your particular most cancers,” explains Dr. Wendy Sherman, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. “So, not simply your lung most cancers, however does your lung most cancers have a selected mutation? And there are medication that match as much as the mutation which were very efficient.”

Dr. Sherman explains that halfof the time when a most cancers travels to a unique a part of the physique, notably to the mind, the most cancers could change and lose its mutation.

“So, for those who deal with somebody primarily based off of the knowledge that you simply had a pair years in the past from the place the most cancers began, that won’t replicate the present state of your most cancers and what it seems like,” says Dr. Sherman. And, so, our therapy actually relies on that. And with a number of these new-generation therapies which can be going after these mutations, it has been very helpful to search for these within the spinal fluid. And it completely has improved how folks take care of this from a symptom standpoint as a result of we’re usually in a position to give them usually medication which can be higher tolerated as a result of they’re extra focused.”

Analysis is underway to additional develop the usage of liquid biopsies.

“We wish to study extra about the usage of liquid biopsy, notably because it pertains to spinal fluid for not simply mind metastases but additionally for cancers that begin within the mind,” explains Dr. Sherman. “After which additionally, can we use different fluids within the physique? These samples — urine and blood — are being collected and examined in order that hopefully we are able to make progress towards that use.”

On this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Sherman discusses the usage of liquid biopsy in caring for folks with breast, lung and gastric most cancers that has unfold to the mind and spinal wire.

Watch: Dr. Sherman focus on liquid biopsies.

Learn the total transcript.

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