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USC patient data demonstrates potential of Parsortix for metastatic breast cancer liquid biopsy clinical application

ANGLE plc, the specialist medtech company, is delighted to announce that the results of the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s ongoing work with ANGLE’s Parsortix system have demonstrated the potential for the use of Parsortix as a liquid biopsy for metastatic breast cancer.

USC head to head patient data was presented at AACR 2016 (the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016), which demonstrates a statistically significant correlation in metastatic breast cancer between analysis of CTCs (circulating tumor cells) harvested from a simple blood test using Parsortix with similar analysis of tissue obtained from invasive biopsy of a secondary cancer site. The Directors believe that the data demonstrates the potential for the Parsortix liquid biopsy (simple blood test) to replace the invasive biopsy.

Metastasis is responsible for the vast majority of breast cancer related deaths. Initial treatment recommendations for breast cancer are based on primary tumor biology from the initial solid biopsy at patient presentation. However, the recently updated ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) guidelines call for biopsy of a metastatic site to guide the decision making for treatment as it is known that cancers change their status as disease progresses. Access to the secondary cancer site to obtain this tissue biopsy is challenging and requires the patient to undergo an invasive procedure, which causes trauma and delays treatment until they have recovered from the procedure. Furthermore the surgical intervention takes time to arrange, is expensive and diverts resources from care for the patient.

A liquid biopsy to obtain cancer cells for analysis from a simple blood test has major advantages, including:

  • avoiding the patient suffering invasive procedures;
  • reducing the time to treatment decision;
  • providing information on all cancer sites at the same time rather than just a single site;
  • enabling serial assessment of tumor biology over time (repeat tissue biopsies are not generally acceptable to patients); and
  • reducing costs.

In the USC study, the tissue from the invasive biopsy and the CTCs from the Parsortix liquid biopsy harvest were both subjected to Illumina’s whole-transcriptome analysis using total RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). RNA-Seq can accurately measure gene and transcript abundance, and identify known and novel features of the transcriptome. RNA-Seq analysis has been completed on three sample types covering metastatic tissue biopsy, Parsortix harvested CTCs and, as a control, peripheral blood for each of eight patients. This strategy enables measurement of thousands of genes at once in order to generate a comprehensive picture of cellular function.