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Liquid Tumor Biopsies -- Heard in the Halls: Voices From the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Philomena McAndrew, M.D.
December 8, 2016

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"An exciting but early time."

Oncologist Philomena McAndrew talks about the exciting, but still early research on what's called by a variety of names: liquid tumor biopsies, circulating tumor cells, and cell free DNA and what the development of these tests might mean for patients in the future.

Running time: 1:59

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Hello. I’m Philomena McAndrew. I’m a medical oncologist in Los Angeles at Cedars Sinai Tower Hematology, and I wanted to just spend a few moments talking about some of the interesting things that we saw today at the San Antonio Breast Cancer meeting.

A number of the different presentations over the past couple days have really talked about the use of the... You have multiple terms that we use, liquid tumor biopsies, circulating tumor cells, cell-free DNA, a number of these things which patients are requesting and some physicians are sending off, and how exciting the work is in terms of, hopefully, in the future, helping us to make recommendations, make predictions about therapies that might be useful, whether therapies are useful, whether or not something is going to, in the long run, help a patient either to be cured or control their disease.

But that, right now, I think we have to be very cautious that we really do not have the knowledge about which of these tests, of which there are hundreds if not thousands of them out there, that are different platforms that are looking at different things. And we just don’t know in which setting, in which particular setting, to look at a specific test, how to interpret those results in a meaningful way.

Of course, any of those companies that are out there are happy to let you send your blood, send a tumor sample, do these tests, but we still do not know how we’re going to use that and whether or not it would be helpful to that particular individual. So I think that this is a very early time, but it’s very exciting, and I do foresee, in the next few years, we’re going to have a rich amount of information that really will help us utilize it appropriately.

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