A new cell free DNA liquid biopsy assay to predict bevacizumab outcome in metastatic colorectal cancer patients

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in Europe with an estimated 420,000 new cases diagnosed and 230,000 related deaths anticipated in 2018. CRC is the 2nd most common and 2nd most fatal cancer in Ireland. Currently standard chemotherapy (FOLFOX) and bevacizumab [(BVZ); avastin] a drug which inhibits tumour blood vessel formation are standard of care treatments for CRC patients. However, only a subpopulation of patients benefit from treatment and for the majority, their tumors regrow and spread to distant organs like the liver and lungs. Furthermore, avastin is a costly drug and has some serious side effects. Recently we have discovered that chromosomal instability (where whole human chromosomes or parts of chromosomes are duplicated or deleted) may predict which patients will receive most benefit to avastin. By predicting the patients that would not benefit from avastin, individuals could be spared the side effects of this particular drug therapy, and are more likely to receive optimal treatment with a minimum of delay, while reducing cost of care. Based on these findings, we now wish to develop a laboratory test, which can be used in patients to detect these chromosomal rearrangements in DNA that is found freely in blood. This test will be a simple blood test making it easy to screen patients and predict whom will likely respond to avastin treatment.

Award Date
27 June 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Annette Byrne
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Investigator Led Projects