Sequencing method is cheaper, faster and less invasive than surgery and biopsy.
A Chinese-led research team has made a breakthrough in the detection of brain tumours by using sequencing of patients’ tumour-deprived DNA.
Brainstem gliomas are tumours difficult to cut out and have limited treatment options due to their location in the brain. The disease occurs frequently in children, and people with it survive less than one year. Despite numerous clinical trials, chemotherapy has proven ineffective.
Traditional methods to obtain tumour tissue include surgery and biopsy for examination, but they are risky, painful and costly.
Researchers from the Beijing Tiantan Hospital, along with the Duke University Medical Center of the United States, found that sequencing of circulating tumour DNA, or tumour-derived genes, from the brain fluid, could help gain tumour genetic information and track tumour progression.
“But the sequencing method is cheaper, faster and less invasive,” said lead researcher Zhang Liwei. “It would bring revolutionary changes to the diagnosis and treatment of brainstem gliomas in the future.”
Helmut Bertalanffy, director of the Department of Vascular Neurosurgery at the International Neuroscience Institute, said that the research was “an enormous help for patients suffering from such kind of tumours,” and could “replace the surgical intervention for biopsy.”
The research was published in Acta Neuropathologica. [APBN]