Circulating tumor DNA: toward evolving the clinical paradigm of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2023 Mar 4;15:17588359231157651. doi: 10.1177/17588359231157651. eCollection 2023.


Over a decade of sequencing-based genomics research has unveiled a diverse somatic mutation landscape across patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and the identification of druggable mutations has aligned with the development of novel targeted therapeutics. However, despite these advances, direct translation of years of PDAC genomics research into the clinical care of patients remains a critical and unmet need. Technologies that enabled the initial mapping of the PDAC mutation landscape, namely whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing, remain overly expensive in terms of both time and financial resources. Consequentially, dependence on these technologies to identify the relatively small subset of patients with actionable PDAC alterations has greatly impeded enrollment for clinical trials testing novel targeted therapies. Liquid biopsy tumor profiling using circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) generates new opportunities by overcoming these challenges while further addressing issues particularly relevant to PDAC, namely, difficulty of obtaining tumor tissue via fine-needle biopsy and the need for faster turnaround time due to rapid disease progression. Meanwhile, ctDNA-based approaches for tracking disease kinetics with respect to surgical and therapeutic interventions offer a means to elevate the current clinical management of PDAC toward higher granularity and accuracy. This review provides a clinically focused summary of ctDNA advances, limitations, and opportunities in PDAC and postulates ctDNA sequencing technology as a catalyst for evolving the clinical decision-making paradigm of this disease.

PMID:36895849 | PMC:PMC9989430 | DOI:10.1177/17588359231157651


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