What can the liquid biopsy do?
This new liquid biopsy can also identify certain mutations in the estrogen receptor (ESR1 gene) which have been linked to patients have a resistance to anti-hormone therapies like aromatase inhibitors. Patients who have this particular mutation may benefit from changing their treatment from hormone based treatment to chemotherapy or to other hormone therapies that are selective oestrogen receptor therapies like fulvestrant or Faslodex.
This study is the first evidence of researchers being able to use a single blood test to analyze both copy number alterations (CNAs) and point mutations, both of which are types of acquired DNA mutations. CNAs occur when there are extra copies of genes that are incorporated into DNA and point mutation occurs when the DNA molecules have been put together in the wrong order, which can change the function and structure of the protein that results.