Researchers are getting closer to fulfilling a new liquid biopsy that can detect biomarkers of lung cancer in saliva.
This noninvasive method is able to detect circulating tumor DNA in saliva. This method also has the potential to dramatically cut waiting time for biopsy results as well as reduce costs and inconvenience to patients.
The device has a high degree of accuracy in comparison with current sequencing technology. The device can also assist with clinical treatment decisions involving tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
The majority of lung cancers are non-small cell lung carcinomas in which 20% have actionable mutations in the EGFR gene that can be effectively treated with gefitinib to prolong survival or patients by 1 to 1.5 years.
Researchers are currently looking at the ability of liquid saliva technology to detect mutations linked to oropharyngeal cancers.
Besides being a noninvasive test, two of the major points are the speed at which results can be determined and the low cost.
Biopsy results may take several days to be delivered to the physician and can cost around $2,000.00. Results of a mutational analysis take 2 weeks to deliver which costs around $450.00.
Conversely, saliva can be collected in 1 to 10 minutes and analyzed in less than 10 minutes. Additionally, it can be delivered by wireless to the physician in seconds. Finally the total projected cost would be less than $25.
The technology can be used at the point of care and be reference laboratory based.
A noninvasive liquid biopsy has been a goal for several years for many researchers. Use of circulating tumor cells has been gaining more traction in cancer care.
Many believe that this device has the potential to be used for screening and diagnosis, for monitoring treatment response and for detecting minimal residual disease and emerging resistant mutations to targeted therapies.
Clinical trials for regulatory approval will begin in the middle of this year in China and then Taiwan. The technology is global, and researchers envision regulatory evaluation in other parts of the world, particularly when the Asian trials are successful.