Personalized Medicine in Oncology: Early Recurrence Detection - Analyzing DNA from Circulating Tumor Cells and Circulating Cell-Free DNA

An Interview with Paul W. Dempsey, PhD, and Paul Y. Song, MD, of Cynvenio

Excerpt from Personalized Medicine in Oncology (PMO)
June 2016, Vol. 5, No. 5

Cynvenio is a cancer diagnostics company offering their LiquidBiopsy technology to provide molecular analysis of cancer biomarkers in blood. The company purports that molecular diagnostic approaches to cancer detection and monitoring can benefit from their multiple-template strategy that analyzes DNA from circulating tumor cells (ctcDNA) and circulating cell-free DNA (ccfDNA) in blood, as well as from tissue biopsies. They recently published the results from their National Cancer Institute–supported clinical trial showing that data gained through next-generation sequencing of ccfDNA and ctcDNA liquid biopsy templates differ but complement each other and should be considered simultaneously. Analysis of each template enables the capture of different moments in a tumor’s evolution, providing additional and complementary information to that acquired through tissue biopsy alone. Moreover, the information gained from examining circulating tumor cells (CTCs) enables the identification of both relevant mutations and other biomarkers (such as proteins and RNA expression) that can drive a particular cancer.

Tumor-derived samples from tissue biopsy, CTC populations, and ccfDNA represent different moments in a cancer’s progression and may not derive from the same biologic sources. Research suggests that ccfDNA samples genomic DNA fragments released from all tumor sites and may capture mutations not specifically associated with the disease, as well as disease-relevant ones. In contrast, CTCs reflect the mobile subset of tumor cells in blood; they are clearly related to the disease process and predict more aggressive as well as metastatic disease.

Cynvenio is applying their multiple- template approach in a new clinical research study in triple-negative breast cancer. To date, they have enrolled 150 women. Enrollment is still open.

The publishers of PMO had the pleasure of speaking with Drs Dempsey and Song about their multiple-template strategy that analyzes ctcDNA and ccfDNA in blood as well as the initiation of their clinical trial in triple-negative breast cancer.

Read the full interview →