CHICAGO (GenomeWeb) – At this week’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center shared new data on a method that they highlighted as a first step toward a test that can detect cancer early in otherwise healthy people.
The study was funded in part by molecular diagnostics firm Grail, which announced its intentions in the early detection space in 2016 but has remained mostly tight-lipped about the scientific details of its research and development efforts.
The investigators reported that when they sequenced a larger portion of the genome — 508 genes — and at a higher depth — 60,000x coverage — they could find at least one circulating cancer mutation in about 90 percent of patients, and could detect nearly 75 percent of the genetic changes known to be present in these patients’ tumors overall.
Divided by tumor type, the method picked up circulating mutations in 97 percent of the breast cancer cases, 85 percent of lung cancer cases, and 84 percent of those with metastatic prostate cancer. On average, that played out to finding a circulating cancer mutation in 89 percent of the full cohort.
The MSKCC researchers also reported