Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science




Dr. Laura Witte


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The five-year survival rates are poor with traditional therapy alone. New scientific advances in technology involving the human genome, including diagnostic tools to inform on tumor-derived acquired (somatic) mutations that drive cancer formation are essential to utilize. Targeting cancer cells paired with actionable drugs to shut off the growth pathways has significantly improved patient survival. Obtaining mutational analysis can be performed via traditional methods such as tissue; new advances allow comparable information to be obtained through liquid biopsy to inform targeted treatment decision-making. Getting tissue for additional molecular analysis can pose several challenges for patients. Liquid biopsy is a non-invasive test (typically blood) analyzed by next-generation sequencing for tumor shed to obtain actionable information for treatment decisions. Analyses between blood and tissue consistently yield high concordance, with liquid biopsy giving faster turn-around-time results to treatment than tissue. The utility of liquid biopsy is well proven but not standardized and cannot diagnose lung cancer histopathology, requiring tissue diagnosis.


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