Axel Grothey, MD, discusses the potential role of circulating tumor DNA testing in screening patients for early-stage colorectal cancer.
Axel Grothey, MD, medical oncologist and director of Gastrointestinal Cancer Research at West Cancer Center and Research Institute, discusses the potential role of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing in screening patients for early-stage colorectal cancer (CRC).
Utilizing ctDNA testing in the diagnosis and screening of patients with cancer is an exciting and emerging area of research, says Grothey. Notably, rather than testing for mutational biomarkers, ctDNA testing could be used identify methylating markers that may be indicative of early-stage disease, Grothey explains.
Currently, efforts are ongoing to develop a highly sensitive ctDNA assay for population screening, Grothey explains. The goal would be to replace yearly colonoscopies, PAP smears, and mammograms with this blood-based test, while still identifying early disease markers, Grothey says. Although the technology is not ready for prime time, early data in CRC are promising, concludes Grothey.