Mark A. Socinski, MD, discusses the utility of circulating tumor DNA testing in lung cancer.
Mark A. Socinski, MD, executive medical director of the AdventHealth Cancer Institute, discusses the utility of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing in lung cancer.
Patients with lung cancer tend to be older and have other comorbidities, so obtaining a robust tissue biopsy sample is challenging, says Socinski. Additionally, tissue is exhaustible so a patient may not have enough tissue available for comprehensive testing, Socinski says.
Conversely, ctDNA testing can be repeated because blood is not exhaustible, Socinski says. However, whether enough ctDNA is shed by the tumor to be detected on the assay remains a challenge of blood-based testing, Socinski explains.
Concurrent tissue- and blood-based testing is optimal for patients, says Socinski. Tissue testing can identify molecular aberrations that are not detectable in the blood, Socinski says. ctDNA testing can identify molecular aberrations that were missed because of a limited tissue sample or tumor heterogeneity, Socinski explains.
Notably, the implementation of ctDNA testing could increase the number of patients with an actionable mutation who get matched with available targeted therapies, concludes Socinski.