Non-invasive liquid biopsy tracks cancer treatment success in real time

A non-invasive, blood-based biopsy for kidney cancer can tell doctors how a patient’s disease is responding to treatment.

Known as liquid biopsies, these blood tests could help physicians better treat their patients by allowing them to see which treatments are working in real time without the need for repeated, invasive biopsies of solid tumors.

A clinical study published May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and led by University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists followed more than 100 patients undergoing treatment for renal cell carcinoma. Researchers isolated and measured circulating tumor cells, which tumors release into the blood. These cells can act as a signal of disease burden in a patient.

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