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Expert Shares Insight on Liquid Biopsies in Pediatric Sarcomas

Brandon Scalea
Published: Monday, Jul 30, 2018

Brian D. Crompton, MD

Brian D. Crompton, MD

Liquid biopsies are a way to better understand the mutational spectrum of a cancer across multiple disease sites, as the approach captures the signature of any part of a tumor throughout the body, explained Brian D. Crompton, MD.

, Crompton provided insight on the debate of liquid versus tissue biopsies, particularly in the setting of pediatric patients with sarcomas.

OncLive: Can you speak to the use of liquid biopsies in pediatric sarcomas?

Crompton: [We utilize] liquid biopsies to get a better understanding of the biology around metastatic disease and how it develops in pediatric bone sarcomas. The idea is that pediatric tumors in patients release both ctDNA and, sometimes, actual tumor cells into the bloodstreams of patients. Obviously, you can collect those samples very easily with a blood draw and identify ctDNA by detecting the mutations that are actually present in the tumor itself.

The other thing that can happen is that you may not find anything to target in the area you biopsied. There might still be targetable mutations in all the other metastatic sites. We really have no idea. When a patient gets marked up, they're not getting biopsies from multiple sites. Therefore, in the end, we believe a liquid biopsy will give us a better general picture of the pattern of mutation across the burden of disease, not just one specific spot.

What are some of the challenges in getting physicians to adopt liquid biopsies?

I don't think there are a lot of challenges. One of the hurdles in trying to implement anything patient related is you have to convince people that there is potential. We're not asking physicians or patients to provide something that's dangerous. Getting a simple blood draw is minimally invasive, which is the whole point.
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