Liquid biopsies in early diagnosis

Grant Details

Grantee Name:
 Dr. Filip Janku
 The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Country: USA

Project Name:
 Liquid biopsies in early diagnosis of colorectal cancer
Funding Year:
Project period: 2 years

Liquid biopsies in early diagnosis of colorectal cancer

Based on recent developments by the team, this study aims to investigate the potential of using liquid biopsies for the early detection of colorectal cancer. 

Albeit liquid biopsies have been studied for some time, the novelty in the proposed approach lies in the ability to examine DNA methylation changes in addition to mutations in cancer genes.  This combined method has the potential to advance plasma cfDNA (circulating free DNA) testing.

Lay Abstract

Colorectal cancer is a curable disease if diagnosed early; however, patients with metastatic disease have poor treatment outcomes. Current available technologies to detect cancer are either invasive or can fail to detect cancer when it is present. Liquid biopsy is, on the other hand, a minimally invasive blood draw that can allow for the detection of oncogenic mutations and epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation in cancer DNA. Small fragments of tumor DNA that are shed in the blood are detected and analyzed using cutting-edge technology which can be used to create a cancer-specific profile. In this study, we aim to use different approaches to analyze liquid biopsies for the detection of colorectal cancer early in the course of disease before it has spread to other organs. We are investigating the utility of DNA mutational and methylation profiling using samples from liquid biopsies in different colorectal cancer cohorts (high risk patients without evidence of cancer, patients with early-stage disease, and patients with no evidence of disease after surgical removal of metastatic tumors) to determine if we can identify patients who are at high risk of disease occurrence or recurrence. Patients who are identified as high risk using this technology may benefit from earlier treatment intervention which can improve the outcomes of cancer management.

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