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Breast Cancer Expert Highlights Potential for Liquid Biopsies

Jason Harris
Published: Thursday, Oct 25, 2018

Joseph A. Sparano, MD

Joseph A. Sparano, MD

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has the potential to improve treatment for patients with breast cancer; however, physicians first need to identify additional mutational targets and develop targeted agents to truly move the needle, according to Joseph A. Sparano, MD.

, Sparano, associate director for clinical research, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Montefiore Medical Center, discussed the potential for liquid biopsy and the ongoing challenge of improving survival for patients with metastatic disease.

OncLive: What is the status of liquid biopsy in breast cancer?

Sparano: There are really 3 elements to the topic. The first is the use of mutational profiling to select therapies—use of these tests as a way to predict response to specific therapies. The second component involves assays that can be used to identify subjects who could potentially benefit from therapy.

Last is therapeutic interventions based on this molecular testing. That is where the information is limited because we don't have many targeted therapies we can use that are based on molecular testing.

What is the advantage of liquid biopsy compared with tissue biopsy?

A liquid biopsy is very attractive because you can avoid an invasive procedure. For patients who have deep-seated, visceral lesions, this could be an alternative. For some specific types of mutations, there have been studies showing pretty good concordance between the identification of certain types of mutations detected in blood as detected in tissue. For example, alterations of PIK3CA can identify patients who are likely to benefit from PI3K inhibitors.
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TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Community Practice Connections™: PARP Inhibition in Breast Cancer: Practical Methods to Interpret and Apply the Evidence for Your PatientsAug 30, 20191.5
Provider and Caregiver Connection™: Addressing Patient Concerns in the Management of Premenopausal Breast CancerAug 31, 20192.0
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