Blood tests could detect cancer DNA: The DYNAMIC-Pancreas trial

Pancreatic cancer is aggressive and has few long-term survivors. Long-term survival can only be achieved by surgically removing localised disease, and it is difficult to adequately measure risk and the effectiveness of treatment for all patients. The DYNAMIC-Pancreas study is investigating circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), a biomarker that has the potential to usefully inform clinicians of a patient’s risk of disease recurrence and guide treatment decisions.

If effective, using ctDNA as a diagnostic tool could have a major impact on the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

This trial uses ‘liquid biopsies’, blood tests that determine the presence or absence of ctDNA in the bloodstream after surgical removal of the cancer, to stratify the risk of recurrence. If ctDNA is present, patients will then receive escalated chemotherapy, while if it is absent chemotherapy treatment will be de-escalated.

Principal Investigator Dr Belinda Lee says, “I hope that ctDNA analysis will enable us to more accurately define recurrence risk and allow us to adjust treatment according to the individual patients’ risk of relapse.”

DYNAMIC-Pancreas is one of three AGITG studies investigating the potential of ctDNA in gastro-intestinal cancers. DYNAMIC-Rectal is using ctDNA analysis in the treatment of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer, and DYNAMIC-III is examining its potential for patients with advanced colon cancer.

The DYNAMIC-Pancreas trial is currently in activation. Click here to find out more.