Angle Plc, Guildford, UK, recently presented successful results from research using the company’s Parsortix system to predict patient response to therapies used to treat colorectal cancer.1 Undertaken by researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the study represents the first-ever analysis of arginine methylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (meEGFR) across a population of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isolated from colorectal cancer patients being treated with EGFR inhibitors.
The meEGFR biomarker has been previously associated with a patient’s likely response to EGFR inhibitors, a key drug class used in the treatment of colorectal cancer. The objective of the study was therefore to assess whether presence of the meEGFR biomarker, when found in CTCs, is predictive of an adverse duration of progression-free survival among patients in this treatment group.
In a prospective study of 47 metastatic colorectal cancer patients, researchers were able to use the Parsortix system to harvest CTCs and to analyze the cells for the presence or absence of meEGFR.
The total number of CTCs did not correlate to progression-free survival, but the proportion of CTCs that were positive for the meEGFR biomarker was found to be predictive. Patients whose CTCs were harvested by Parsortix and had a higher proportion of meEGFR-positive CTCs experienced significantly shorter periods of progression-free survival than patients whose CTCs had lower levels of meEGFR.
“We have isolated CTCs from metastatic colorectal cancer patients’ blood using the Parsortix system and then identified and assessed the CTCs for the presence of the meEGFR marker,” says Scott Kopetz, associate professor of gastrointestinal medical oncology in the division of cancer medicine at MD Anderson. “This could open the opportunity for a liquid biopsy biomarker for reduced efficacy from anti-EGFR treatments.”
“This colorectal cancer study adds to the body of evidence driving adoption of Parsortix in the fast-growing liquid biopsy market,” says Andrew Newland, founder and CEO at Angle. “The ability to assess the patient’s likely response to a particular drug, as a companion diagnostic, is a key element in the drive to provide precision medicine for patients, saving money and improving treatment.”
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- Korphaisarn K, Chou CK, Xia W, et al. Arginine methylation of EGFR in circulating tumor cells: A new biomarker for predicting resistance to anti-EGFR agents [poster abstract; 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, June 2–6, 2017]. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(suppl; abstr 3590).