The basis of these new tests is the fact that serum contains – apart from than protein, fat, and other components – free circulating DNA. This DNA stems from different sources, among them tumor cells. In this case, one speaks of circulating cell free tumor DNA (cftDNA). The DNA in serum is highly stable and thus perfectly suited for the analysis of tumor diseases via “liquid biopsies”. The term indicates that the test requires no scalpel to gather treatment-relevant information about the disease and can be performed without having to carry out a biopsy of the tumor or its metastases. This form of testing has been made possible by the development of new, highly sensitive methods of DNA analysis. Most of these methods are mutational analysis. Modern medicinal targeted tumor therapies usually focus on tumor cells with specific mutations. Mutations of the BRAF gene (BRAFV600E) are a prime example in that they occur in some malignant melanoma cases in which the tumor then becomes receptive to treatment with vemurafenib (Zelboraf®). Within the framework of targeted therapies, growing resistances are a common issue. The tumor resumes growing again. The reason for this is the occurrence of new mutations that necessitate updating the treatment plan. By using the “liquid biopsy” method, the therapeutically relevant status quo of the tumor can be determined in real-time at any given point to modify treatment early enough. “Liquid biopsies” thus become an important diagnostic tool for individual precision medicine.
We need 10 ml of EDTA-treated blood or 5ml serum respectively.
Duration of Testing
1 to 2 weeks.